Communities in Schools Annual Breakfast crowns teacher and mentor of the year

It was a grand success at this year's Communities in Schools Annual Breakfast.

The event brought in $47,000, more than was collected last year and $12,000 above the group's goal.

The 11th annual breakfast, which was formerly called the CIS Literacy Breakfast, brought in more than 400 community members and educators.

The event was emceed by Superintendent Tom Murphy, who is nearing the end of his long career at Federal Way Public Schools. Murphy received a long standing ovation during the breakfast.

The speaker for the event was Washington State University President Elson Floyd, who spoke of the changes in education over the years.

Teaching was once only about the education, he said. However, that is no longer the case, as schools have expanded to many social services.

"Teaching has almost become secondary to everything else," Floyd said. "Teachers have to deal with so many of the other social issues."

Keeping students involved in their education has long lasting implications. Floyd stated that 82 percent of prison inmates were dropouts.

However, through programs like Communities in Schools, schools are able to fill the voids and help all children.

"They represent our future," Floyd said. "And our future will be incredibly bright thanks to your philanthropy. It's all of our responsibilities. Thank you for what you do to produce the leaders of tomorrow."

Murphy confirmed what Floyd said: That schools face many needs nowadays that aren't related to education, but social services — and only with CIS are they able to reach those needs.

"Schools are not social service agencies. We cannot be social service agencies," Murphy said. "Communities in Schools does that, and it's only a click away," he added, referring to CIS's new online system that created a district wide resource contact list.

Other highlights of the breakfast was the Mentor of the Year Award and Teacher of the Year Award.

First up was the Mentor of the Year Award, which was renamed the Tom Murphy Mentor of the Year Award.

Mentor Jack Stanford won the award, and shouted to Murphy, "I'm your legacy!"

Stanford promoted the mentor program during his speech, and also brought up his mentee, Isaiah Marley.

"If you don't mentor, you're really missing something," he said.

Teacher of the Year went to Olympic View Elementary kindergarten teacher Kathryn Smith, who teared up while thanking her parents.

"I am so glad that I found my home away from home at Olympic View," Smith said. "Each little 5-year-old gem has helped me become a better teacher."

Learn more

To learn more, contact Tracy Oster: or (253) 528-0847.

Proceeds from the event go toward several education programs including:

• PASS (Personal Academic Student Support) mentoring program. PASS helps youth of all ages improve their academic performance and commitment to completing their education. Mentors meet with students for 45 minutes to one hour every week for at least one school year.

• Summer Bridge K-2 program, a summer reading school that focuses on the fundamentals of reading.

• CORE (coordination of resources). This program brings direct access to services for school counselors and nurses through a database of agencies and service providers in the community.

• Roots and Wings, an after-school partnership between the Federal Way Senior Center and Lakeland Elementary School.

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