Mandy Manning was named "teacher of the year" by the Council of Chief State School Officers in April in recognition of her work teaching English to newly arrived refugee and immigrant students at the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington. She was also named Washington state's 2018 Teacher of the Year.
Manning told Gates that many of her students have fled war and extreme poverty in their home countries and arrived in the U.S. with no English, but are "innately hopeful, because they came out alive."
So she strives to show them how school is relevant and can lead to a more optimistic future. "You can become a time traveler, seeing yourself in the future going to a university," Manning is quoted as saying in Gates' post.
Manning, who has been a teacher for 19 years, said she believes demonstrating the value of education is important not just for students but for wider society.
"To be welcomed with open arms and to know that people want you there; that is going to make a tremendous difference in how they interact in their new community ... how they move forward in life," she said.
Manning added that she hopes teachers can be given more of a voice when it comes to shaping education policy going forward. She is currently taking time out from teaching to visit schools and educators across the U.S. to share her experiences of educating underprivileged students.
"It's mostly about cultural exchange," she said. "I bring back what I learn, and they hopefully have learned a little from me."