- Kent School District
Michael Carney is KSD’s Teacher of the Year
Throughout Michael Carney’s 20-year teaching career, he has focused on putting students first and creating a space where students can learn, grow, and build a pathway towards their next step. It is because of this thoughtful approach and his commitment to students that he was chosen as our 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year. Michael Carney was surprised on February 28 by Interim Superintendent Israel Vela and the Scenic Hill Elementary School staff with this honor. Michael Carney has been a sixth-grade math and science teacher at Scenic Hill Elementary since 2001. He also coaches volleyball, track and field and is the Scenic Hill Eagle Leader advisor, a student leadership program for grades fourth, fifth, and sixth.
He deeply cares about building a community in his classroom, and it is one of the core pillars of his teaching philosophy. “Community is not just built in a classroom. Community is built within relationships—relationships between students, parents, and teachers … It is meeting students where they are at and engaging them in meaningful conversation within a positive, safe, and challenging classroom setting,” said Carney. Through this community, students have come into Michael Carney’s class and have left knowing the importance of meaningful relationships, learning, and the value of the people around us.
Harjeet Sandhu-Fuller, Scenic Hill Elementary principal talks about Michael Carney’s contribution to the Scenic Hill Elementary School community and his impact on so many. “When you walk into Mr. Carney’s classroom, you immediately sense you are in a special place. You can feel the nonjudgmental atmosphere of mutual respect and care amongst all members in the learning community,” noted Sandhu-Fuller in her nomination form. “He truly is a mentor and role model for students and staff at Scenic Hill.”
One example of how Michael Carney goes above and beyond for his students happened before winter break. Carney went to Snoqualmie Pass to get snow for his students so they could experience it before they left for the holiday break. “[The students] truly enjoyed the experience, and some even said it was their best day of school. This was especially a special day for some of our refugee students that experienced snow for the first time,” wrote Sandhu-Fuller in her nomination form.
Han Kirkland, a Scenic Hill parent and active member of the Scenic Hill PTA, has seen the impact first-hand that Michael Carney has had on students and the Scenic Hill community. “I have had the privilege of knowing Mr. Carney since 2008 when the first of my three kids attended Scenic Hill Elementary … He upholds standards of excellence that he expects from the students, whether they are his students or in his classroom for redirection,” said Kirkland.
Michael Carney’s commitment to Scenic Hill and his students has proved very valuable to many of the students that have come and gone through his classroom, and that commitment is why he is the KSD Teacher of the Year. “I’ve learned to be the teacher that I am from my peers, so I’m really fortunate … after 20-years I’m still excited to get up in the morning … as my mentor teacher told me, ‘It’s the best job in the world,’ and it truly is,” said Carney.
Join us in celebrating this outstanding achievement for Michael Carney as our Teacher of the Year!