Klallam Teacher (language)

Andre Cramblit andrekar at NCIDC.ORG
Wed Apr 20 05:57:55 UTC 2005

Klallam language teacher Valadez honored by Washington State Indian
Education Association

PORT ANGELES -- After graduating from The Evergreen State College in
1986, Jamie Valadez tried to land a full-time teaching job with the
Port Angeles School District.

But the district wouldn't take her.

``For three years, I tried to get my foot in the door,'' said Valadez,
Port Angeles High School Klallam language instructor who last week was
named Teacher of the Year by the Washington State Indian Education

``But I couldn't. Maybe I was still pretty young and immature.''

It turns out that not getting a full-time teaching job with the
district started Valadez on a road that would lead her to become one of
the pioneer Native American teachers not only for the Port Angeles
School District, but beyond.

In 1998, Valadez -- a member of Lower Elwha Klallam tribe -- was
instrumental in the formation of a breakthrough agreement between the
tribe and Port Angeles School District.

First tribe-district pact

It was the first known agreement between a tribe and public school
agency in the state.

It set out goals to include Native American curriculum in Port Angeles
schools and set the stage for the creation of a Lower Elwha language
course at Port Angeles High School in 1999, which Valadez still

Today, Valadez is also in the process of developing a pilot curriculum
for eighth-grade students that combines the history, culture and
language of the Lower Elwha.

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