As a Puyallup kid, Shelley Woodke is teaching in the very same community she grew up in.
Woodke has taught math at Kalles Junior High for 30 years, and still comes in energized and excited to teach, says Principal Guy Kovacs.
That energy and zest for teaching is what earned Woodke the Puyallup School District’s Secondary Teacher of the Year award.
“I was shocked, surprised,” Woodke said. “I didn’t see the award coming.”
Woodke was nominated by multiple people at Kalles for her positive and upbeat attitude as a colleague and team member.
“She brings a great vibe to the building,” Kovacs said. “She focuses on trying to support our most struggling students. I’m very proud of her. We have such strong teachers here at Kalles. There’s such a great vibe here, and to have a teacher that reflects that is a good feeling.”
She brings a great vibe to the building. She focuses on trying to support our most struggling students. I’m very proud of her.
Principal Guy Kovacs, on teacher Shelley Woodke
Woodke teaches three different math sections to seventh-graders at Kalles: honors math for students who are excelling in math, regular math, and math lab, which focuses on students who are struggling in math to become confident and gain understanding of math concepts.
“Her best work as an educator is with our struggling students,” Kovacs said. “She helps boost their confidence in math.”
When Woodke was asked why she was nominated for teacher of the year, she says it’s probably all the additional hours she spends at the school.
“I like to try new things, spend time with my students, and collaborate with other teachers,” she said. “I believe in my students, and make sure that they’re capable. We have a lot of fun in my classes, but students also know I run a tight ship. I take my job seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously. We laugh and have fun in my classes.”
For the last several years, Woodke has taught only seventh grade students who are new to the junior high routine.
“Seventh graders are fun,” she said. “I love to be the one to train them and show them what junior high is and what the expectations are.”
After 30 years, Woodke still enjoys teaching and getting to know her students just as much as when she first joined the Kalles staff.
“I’m very blessed I get to teach here,” she said.