Chinook Middle School physical education teacher Reid Sundblad is the 2019 Regional Teacher of the Year, representing King and Pierce counties. This honor makes Sundblad a candidate for the Washington State Teacher of the Year award, which will be announced this fall.
Earlier this spring Sundblad was named the 2018 Outstanding Teacher in the Highline Schools Foundation Gold Star Awards. What stands out about Sundblad is the innovative movement he launched at Chinook.
After teachers found that Chinook’s Latino male students had lower attendance rates and higher numbers of office discipline referrals, Sundblad was motivated to take action and started a small after-school club called Los Siete.
“This club builds momentum and strength each year, promoting leadership, mentorship, community involvement, kindness and a commitment to academics,” said Principal Karin Jones. ”Reid’s mentorship and the Los Siete program has had an impact on hundreds of students.”
Sundblad was mobbed by Los Siete students after the honor was announced today at an all-school assembly.
The group started with seven students and seven principles: respect, courageous leadership, trust, academic responsibility, equality, loyalty and honesty. The students meet with Sundblad regularly and discuss how they live the seven principles.
"[Discipline] referral data started going down for these boys, so I said I want to keep doing this, but I don't want to just limit it to seven," Sundblad said.
Today, the after-school club has transitioned to an in-school advisory course. Many Los Siete alumni come back to support current members.
Every other week, Sundblad spends his planning period at Tyee High School where he continues mentoring Los Siete students after they move on to high school.
“Reid works hard to ensure both his past and present students are heard, valued and respected and that they achieve their educational and personal goals,” said Jones.
Sundblad teaches 8th-grade physical education at Chinook, where he attended middle school. In addition, he runs an after-school weight training club and coaches cross country and track and field. He also serves as Chinook's health and physical education department chair.
"Reid Sundblad is deserving of this award because of his service to students, parents and the greater education community. Reid is a valued and trusted partner among his colleagues and students. He is always open to and looking for the best ideas and practices to improve any project or task that he is involved with,” Puget Sound Educational Service District Superintendent John Welch said. “We are thankful for his leadership in and commitment to education here in Washington state and at Chinook Middle School."
Washington's Teacher of the Year program recognizes as many as 10 regional finalists and selects one state Teacher of the Year through the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.