John Stanford International School principal ‘truly exceptional’
OLYMPIA — October 28, 2010 - Kelly Aramaki, principal at John Stanford International School in Seattle, has won the 2010 Milken Educator Award for Washington. The award includes a $25,000 cash prize.
Randy Dorn, state superintendent of public instruction, joined State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott and Dr. Jane Foley from the Milken Family Foundation to make the announcement this morning at John Stanford International.
“Kelly puts kids first, and it shows,” Dorn said. “His ultimate goal is student achievement, and he knows how to use assessment data, research, technology, the expertise of teachers and the enthusiasm of families to reach that goal.”
Aramaki graduated from the Teachers College at Columbia University in 1999 and began teaching in Bellevue at Newport Heights Elementary. After completing the Danforth Educational Leadership Program at the University of Washington, he was hired as principal at Maywood Hills Elementary in Bothell. In 2007, he moved to John Stanford International School.
“Kelly is just awesome,” said Gloria Mitchell, Aramaki’s former instructional director. “On any day of the week I would say that he is truly exceptional – not just as an educator, but also as a person.”
Passionate about celebrating real-world diversity, Aramaki arranged for students at Maywood Hills to visit a tent city that moved in next door to the school. The students interviewed the residents and explored issues of homelessness and poverty from a new perspective.
Aramaki also is passionate about English-language learners. While at Maywood Hills, he helped transition the school to a model that used reader/writer workshop techniques to match students with texts that were at their reading level. As a result more students remain in standard classrooms and ELL students move out of support services sooner. This technique is now the practice across the district. At John Stanford, Aramaki has worked to connect Spanish immersion students with native Spanish speaking ELL students.
At the teaching level, Aramaki coaches new teachers and administrators, mentors struggling educators and engages families. He does this while remaining completely accessible to with every student in his building. He works with his teachers to help them embrace collaboration and open critical feedback. He also is a strong advocate of international education, having presented on the subject at national and international conferences.
Colleagues say that Aramaki’s leadership style is a combination of data analysis and observation, tempered by kindness and a deep respect for students, teachers and families. In his building and across the district, he is admired for his commitment to all learners, his collaboration with teachers and his expert use of data and technology. Colleagues describe him as a courageous and hopeful leader whose contributions to district wide discussions and principals’ meetings create richer professional experiences for all participants.
About the Milken Awards
The Milken Educator Awards have no formal nomination or application process. Educators are recommended without their knowledge by a Blue Ribbon Panel.
The award alternates each year between elementary and secondary educators.
Dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher magazine, the award was established in 1985. Since then, more than $60 million has been given to winners. The purpose of the award is to attract, retain and reward outstanding K-12 teachers, principals and other education professionals who make important contributions to excellence in education.
More than 50 teachers in the United States received the award this year. Each winner will be presented with a $25,000 award at the annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference, an all-expenses-paid professional development conference held in Los Angeles in April. The winners also join the Milken Educator Network, a coalition of more than 2,400 top educators who serve both as expert resources and collaborators to network members as they help cultivate and expand innovative programs in their classrooms, schools and districts.