U.S. Sen. Patty Murray delivered the surprise announcement in front of an all-school assembly Tuesday morning at Lincoln High School: Nathan Gibbs-Bowling was named one of the nation’s top teachers, receiving a $25,000 Milken Educator Award.
All it took was a description of his classroom — where he teaches government and human geography courses — and the cat was out of the bag.
“He knows that teaching is a creative art,” Murray told the assembly as she began to introduce the soon-to-be-named Milken winner. “In fact, I’ve heard that he turns his classroom into a courtroom where students debate Supreme Court cases.”
That was the giveaway. Every kid in the school immediately recognized who Murray was talking about, and the cheering erupted. Students leapt out of the stands in the Lincoln gym to congratulate Gibbs-Bowling, who has taught for five years at the century-old Tacoma high school.
“I was moved to tears by it,” Gibbs-Bowling said of the response.
He credited students and teaching colleagues with his success.
“The work you do is absolutely astounding,” he told the assembly. “This isn’t about me. I’m so honored and so touched right now. The work that you do pays off. Grades matter. Character matters. You all matter.”
Sponsored by the California-based Milken Family Foundation, the Milken Educator Award — dubbed “the Oscars of teaching” by Teacher Magazine — will be awarded this year to 35 educators nationwide. Gibbs-Bowling is the only Washington state winner this year.
(via The Tacoma News Tribune)