Mandy Manning, Joel E. Ferris High School - Newcomer Ce
Mandy Manning teaches English to newly arrived refugee and immigrant students in the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington. In her classroom, Manning uses experiential projects like mapmaking to help students process trauma, celebrate their home countries and culture, and learn about their new community. As the 2018 National Teacher of the Year, Manning encourages educators to teach their students to overcome their fears and seek out new experiences.
“Let’s teach our students to be fearless,” she says. “Let’s teach them to be brave when confronted with uncertainty. Brave when they fail. Brave in meeting new people. Brave in seeking opportunities to experience things outside of their understanding.”
Manning strives to create connections between her students and the community inside and outside of school. Her students work in the student store, and she encourages other students to visit and volunteer in the Newcomer Center. She also invites district leaders, campus resource officers, community members of color and professional writers to visit her classroom. The visits help her students learn cultural expectations and how to express themselves effectively. In return, her students teach these leaders where they come from, who they are and the beauty they add to the school district.
Manning has been a teacher for 19 years, seven in her current role. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University, a master’s from West Texas A&M University and a master’s of fine arts from Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. She’s also a National Board Certified Teacher.