CULTURAL EXPLORATION OF GREATER CHINA
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2013 Tour Participating Teachers
Annie John - Federal Way, 2013
Hello! I am Annie John, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to represent the CE Foundation on this journey. It is an experience that I will carry with me in both my personal and professional life.

I currently teach a 2/3 Highly Capable class in the Federal Way School District, and truly love my job. I am fortunate to be able to have a huge impact on these future leaders of America. Prior to leading the HiCap program, I taught fifth grade for five years. In addition to my classroom position, I also serve on the school and district leadership boards. Through the Highly Capable leadership team, I am able to serve students on a larger scale and impact the educational community from within.

Over the past few years, our schools have become more culturally diverse, and will continue to grow in this direction. Building relationships with students is one of the core focuses of my teaching philosophy – and I believe that we must understand a child’s cultural background in order to fully bridge together the relationship. Having little background in Chinese culture, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to learn through experience, the impact Chinese history and culture has on daily life.

When I am not in my classroom, I am working on my PhD at the University of Washington. In addition, my daughter and I love to take day trips to obscure farmers markets, hike, travel, and read. I am looking forward to sharing this summer’s experiences with my students in hopes that it inspires them to learn more about the remarkable Chinese culture ...Read full journey
Colleen Graham - llicum Middle School, 2013
My name is Colleen Graham and I feel very honored to have been selected to participate in the Cultural Exploration trip to China. I am fortunate to be able to share my passion for art with 6th, 7th and 8th grade students at Tillicum Middle School in Bellevue, WA. As an art teacher, I strive to guide students towards finding their creative voice, inspiring curiosity and creating art that is personally relevant while learning about each other and the world around us.

Originally from Michigan, I came to Seattle after spending time in Los Angeles, Maine, New York City, Toronto and France. I have a BA in Art History and went on to earn a Master’s in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College after I discovered teaching was my true vocation. Since then, I’ve taught students ranging from pre-school through adult age and love teaching middle school aged students!

I am also an artist always looking for inspiration and ways to stretch my creative abilities. I’ve worked as a milliner and am currently creating mixed media books that incorporate fabric, stitching, painting, drawing and collage elements. My husband and I have a passion for travel and our trips to Southeast Asia, South and Central America have been awe-inspiring. While traveling, I am mindful of ways to incorporate my experiences once back into the classroom and sharing my excitement, insights and experiences greatly enhances my students’ learning.

Chinese art and culture has interested me from an early age. My father was an artist who studied Chinese Brush Painting so I grew up surrounded by books about Chinese art and culture. I am also a student of Tai Chi and have been practicing for almost a year. I am excited to explore the many ways Chinese culture, history and contemporary life can be woven into the art classroom to enrich the student’s learning experiences! Thank you again. ...Read full journey
Siri Hulbert - Shorecrest High School, 2013
My interest in China was spiked when I was called to a meeting in which it was announced that there was an interest to teach Mandarin starting next academic year in our two middle and two high schools in Shoreline. I began researching and realized I needed to educate myself on China and those of Chinese descent in our community. We currently teach French, Japanese and Spanish. I’ve studied these three languages and have lived in the countries where they’re taught and their histories and cultures fascinate me. My education was based on Western culture, so the vastness, difficulty in the languages and history of China is intimidating to me…yet I’m living among Chinese-Americans and know very little of their “home country” or recent past. The opportunity to connect with others, coupled with my desire to expand my knowledge propelled me to apply for this opportunity. I will be the world-language teacher who interviews and helps orient our incoming Mandarin teachers. I will advocate for them and help our staff and students better understand the value of this addition in our schools.

From this wonderful opportunity I expect to open my heart to China and “things Chinese.” Along with that concept, I also expect that I’ll find some attraction to the foods, traditions, history, humanity or beliefs of the Chinese peoples and be able to share this with others. Through better understanding of China and the Chinese I expect I’ll be a better educator and colleague.

After traveling and living in various places, I chose Seattle for home as it is close to family, progressive and a beautiful place that attracts people diverse in origin as well as beliefs and practices. I started teaching in 1992 but have taught Spanish at Shorecrest High since 1996. I love my job. I still strive to find a balance between myself, my family and my passion for my work. I enjoy meeting and learning from others, playing with my language skillls, travelling, and reading…when I make the time. These things guide my discovery of who I am and who I want to be. ...Read full journey
Susan Kelly - Issaquah, 2013
I’m Susan Kelly and I teach 4th grade in the Issaquah School District on the Plateau. I feel honored and privileged to have been selected to participate in this year’s CE Tour to China. Our district, and particularly our school, has a high number of Asian students (32%); also our 4th grade social studies curriculum includes learning about the cultural, political, and economic relationships between Washington State and other Pacific Rim countries. This travel opportunity will offer experiential learning so that I can both better relate to my Chinese students and their families, and also to teach more authentically about China and its part as an economic leader in Pacific NW trade and world economy. I’m so looking forward to exploring both the ancient Chinese antiquities and wonders, and the modern and exciting cities of Beijing and Shanghai and also Hong Kong. Meeting and touring some with host families will inform me about daily life in modern China—which my students will love to hear about!

Personally, I’m 24 years married to my husband and have two sons, one a college student, the other a senior in public high school. Though I lived in six states and also in Okinawa, Japan by the age of 10, both my husband and I grew up on the Eastside (of Seattle). We’ve traveled with our family around the U.S., and to Europe. Additionally, I love to read, cook, ski, exercise and hike. ...Read full journey
Trent Wieburg - Mount Si High School, 2013
Born in central Illinois, Trent grew up in Silverdale, WA on the Kitsap Peninsula. He developed his passion for Social Studies thanks to his fantastic Advanced Placement teachers at Central Kitsap High School- Pam Galvani and Sarah Fisher. Trent continued his interest in Social Studies at the University of Washington where he earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and Political Science with a minor in Art History. During his time at UW, Trent developed an interest for overseas travel while attending the Italian Studies program at the UW Rome Center in Italy. Trent decided to pursue a career in high school teaching during his experiences tutoring at Franklin and Garfield High Schools in Seattle. He graduated from the UW Masters in Teaching program in 2008.

After completing student teaching experiences at Lindbergh High School in Renton, Mountlake Terrace High School, and the Trondheim International School in Norway, Trent began his public school teaching career at Shelton High School. Trent currently teaches Social Studies at Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie, WA. His recent teaching assignments include: AP American Government and Politics, AP Comparative Government (China is one of the six focus countries), Contemporary World Problems, World History, World Geography, and Psychology. In his free time, Trent enjoys traveling, attending UW football and Seattle Sounders soccer games, golfing, hiking, and spending time with friends and family. He is very excited and honored to be participating in the CE program and this will be his first travel experience in Asia. ...Read full journey