Deer Park High School teacher Jeffrey Dunn was selected as Educational Service District 101’s teacher of the year.
Dunn, who as works as an English teacher at DPHS, as a secondary Learning Assistance Program coordinator and as site coordinator of the Cornerstone After and Summer School Program (funded through a 21st Century After School grant), competed for the state teacher of the year title last week.
Katie Brown, a middle school teacher at Shuksan Middle School in Bellingham, was chosen over eight other candidates, including Dunn, for the title.
In an interview with ESD 101 officials, Dunn, the holder of two master’s degrees and a doctorate, freely admitted his own educational journey was not always easy. Only later after earning his academic degrees did he realize that he shared, with a number of his students, the learning profile known as dyslexia. This accounted for not only his difficulty with handwriting and foreign languages, but also his talent for visualization and narrative.
“I am dyslexic and my oldest son is autistic, and I understand both of us so much better now. I want to know and assist each and every one of my students in ways I am still continuing to come to understand,” Dunn said.
After 30-plus years teaching at five high schools – 11 years at DPHS – Dunn has conducted after-school creative writing workshops and published a literary magazine to celebrate student art, poetry, and short stories. For many, the experience transforms their lives, uncovering talent and inspiring newfound confidence.
“He is truly a master teacher. I have worked closely with Jeff over the past six years, and I can say with confidence that he is one of the most dedicated teachers I have ever observed,” said Principal Joe Feist in the ESD 101 interview.
One colleague calls Dr. Dunn a “kid saver” who is “nothing short of gifted in relating to every kind of student.” Yet, in addition to connecting with students at every level, he is also at home analyzing data, researching best practices and, most importantly, creating solutions to uncover student talents.