English Language teacher, Chung Savoie has been named the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year for Washougal School District. She is being honored for her work helping students from various backgrounds and different cultures learn English as their second language.
According the Hathaway principal, David Tudor, Savoie does not work or serve for awards or accolades, but simply to inspire and impact all those she comes in contact with each day. “She has developed relationships with her students, families, and peers and freely offers love, acceptance, and grace to everyone,” he said. “Chung supports both students and families with empathy coupled with complete professionalism. She teaches her students to strive for excellence, to love reading, and to respect each other; and she teaches her peers to give our best for our students and to always wear a smile.”
Savoie immigrated to America seventeen years ago from South Korea and settled in Vancouver. She had her first teaching job in Camas and came to Washougal ten years ago. “While the learning curve has been steep, I have enjoyed the opportunities afforded here in Washougal to take chances and to try new things that will improve the success of all students. It was the best move I ever made!”
Savoie provides support to EL students throughout the Washougal school district which requires her to constantly juggle her time between various buildings. She has also worked to revamp the model through which the district has provided this instruction. “She has spent time co-teaching in classrooms and nurturing relationships with her peers to ensure the success of each student within the program,” Tudor said.
Just this year Savoie was able to create a program for parents with limited English proficiency. Partnering with Clark College, the class meets twice a week and provides child care and other social services. “It is good for students to see their parents working to improve their language skill set and it builds capacity within the community.”
Looking back over the ten years she has been at Washougal, Savoie is seeing the impact of her efforts. “Some students I had at Hathaway are now in high school,” she said. “It is great to see them participating in ASB and taking advanced placement classes. It is incredible to think of where they were in elementary school and the amazing growth that they have achieved as time has passed.”
Savoie admits to being a bit overwhelmed by the honor, considering how many good teachers there are at Washougal who she feels are equally as deserving. “I believe it is a testament of the incredible support by school leadership, the administration, parents and students that led me to where I am now,” she said.