Celebrating Teacher Leaders | Educators of the Month 2022
January 1st, 2022 12:00AM -12:00AM
Educator of the Month is an appreciation initiative featured in our bi-weekly newsletter and website to recognize and highlight the great work educators are doing throughout Washington State centering global education.
Global Classroom aims to celebrate K-12 educators, as well as educators in higher education, for their creativity, passion, and success in bringing the world into their classrooms, engaging students in timely and diverse topics surrounding global current events; providing accessible opportunities for students to connect with diverse perspectives, cultures, languages, and people; and preparing students to become globally engaged citizens and leaders. Click here to learn more about our past nominees and check out our winter/spring Educators of the month below!
Julia Vasiliauskas has taught middle and high school science in Western Washington for 17 years. As a National Board Certified Teacher in General Science since 2010, she values challenging her students to become critical thinkers, educated consumers, and models of real-world problem solving in their communities. She values a global perspective on the issues that will affect us all in an increasingly connected world, her passions being environmental education and educational equity. Her students benefit from the context of the United Nations Sustainability goals in their service learning and sustainability projects, she has mentored many students who participate in the World Citizen Essay Contest annually, and she has been the advisor of the ‘Green Team’ environmental club at each school at which she has taught.
Sustainability is the global lens through which all students can engage to improve the educational, economic, and social outcomes for all global citizens. Her favorite quote by Edward Everett Hale is: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” The daughter of first-generation Lithuanian immigrants, she grew up in rural upstate New York, and is still active with the Lithuanian Community of Seattle, dancing with the traditional Folk Dance group: Lietutis. Being an avid snowboarder, hiker, and homesteader, she moved to Washington for the mountains and trees, and stayed for the diverse community and surrounding beauty.
Rosa Salazar teaches Advanced World Geography and AP Human Geography at United High School in Laredo, Texas. She has been an educator for 25 years and has taught on both sides of the border. Her passion for geographic education has led her to become a National Geographic certified educator and a steering committee member of the Texas Alliance for Geographic Education. Ms. Salazar has received two Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad to China and Siberia, and most recently, a third one to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to take place this summer. She has traveled to India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Morocco, and Jordan on grants from the University of Texas, Qatar Foundation International and the International School of Jain Studies.
Additionally, she is a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow. Ms. Salazar is an adamant supporter of the global competence movement in the classroom and actively participates in programs that engage students in learning about a world that needs them to act. She is currently participating in Teachers Collaborating across Borders, a joint effort of the Duke-University of North Carolina Consortium for Middle Eastern Studies and the University of Arizona Center for Middle Eastern Studies, where her students are engaged in a collaborative research effort focusing on water issues with students from Michigan and the Middle East.
Vasili Andrews is a middle school humanities and business teacher for highly capable and gifted learners at the middle school level. He has been working in the Tahoma School District of Maple Valley, Washington for the past sixteen years. Vasili got his start as a teacher in Athens, Greece, teaching English as a foreign language to kindergarteners through post-college-level professionals. His vision as an educator is to empower his students with the tools they need to be successful global citizens who are capable of and inspired to make both their communities and world a better place for generations to come through the essential skills of communication, cooperation, civility, creativity, and critical thinking.
Tese Wintz Neighbor has traveled extensively around the world, but her heart and soul remain in Asia. Her work has focused on Asia since she graduated from Indiana University. After receiving her BA in Journalism and Political Science, she worked in Beijing in the early 1980s as the English editor for China Pictorial Magazine and taught English at Beijing University. She then moved to Hong Kong where she organized some of the first bicycle tours across the P.R.C. and worked as a freelance writer/photographer for publications such as the Asian Wall Street Journal and the Far Eastern Economic Review.
She moved from Hong Kong to Seattle where she received her MA in China Regional Studies from the Henry Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington in 1987. Seattle is now her home-base where she lives with her husband (and their two nearby sons). Since her first trip to China in early 1979, she has returned to Asia more than 70 times leading educational tours. She loves traveling the breadth of China. But if you asked her to name her favorite areas she would say Western China from Yunnan to Tibet to Xinjiang. Her favorite (and last trip before COVID-19) was on the Silk Road – this is an overland trip from Xinjiang into Kyrgyzstan and then on to Bukhara and Samarkand in Uzbekistan. Her next Silk Road trip is scheduled for September 2022.
Back on Seattle turf, she has worked as an Asian history instructor at Seattle-area colleges, served as the Senior Director of Professional Development for the Seattle World Affairs Council (2000-2014), and continues to teach East Asia Seminar classes for the University of Washington’s National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (1999-present). Tese is the author of numerous curricula on Asia. They have been published by UW’s East Asia Resource Center, Seattle Asian Art Museum, World Affairs Council - Seattle, and The Seattle Times Newspapers In Education.
She had many mentors as a young woman in her twenties, two come to her mind immediately: Edmonde Haddad (President of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council) and Zhang Yan (the first People’s Daily correspondent to the U.S.) after President Carter normalized relations with the People’s Republic of China.
If she’s not on the Silk Road, you may catch a glimpse of her power-walking along Lake Washington, dispensing her 656th poem in her Plum Street Public Poetry Post, keeping up with old friends back home in Indiana or making rusty people up the Twisp River valley in the North Cascades.
The WAC Global Classroom "Educator of the Month" is our way of honoring local educators who have made exceptional contributions in broadening the global horizons of their students and colleagues. Submit your nominations for 2022 today!
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