Symetra Financial and Seattle Seahawks host 24 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom Recipients at CenturyLink Field celebration

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Symetra Financial and Seattle Seahawks honor teachers from Shoreline School District
Photo by Larry Gill. See end of article for names and titles of those pictured

On Friday afternoon, May 18, 2012, Symetra Financial and the Seattle Seahawks honored the 24 Puget Sound-area teachers who were recognized as “Symetra Heroes in the Classroom” during the 2011 NFL season, at a special celebration at CenturyLink Field. 

Among the 2011 honorees were 9 Shoreline School District teachers, including:
  • Ali Airhart—Syre Elementary School
  • Tracy Anderson—Meridian Park Elementary School
  • Michael Callahan—Cascade K-8 Community School (formerly Room Nine Community School)
  • Anne Marie Culver—Kellogg Middle School
  • Diana Dillard—Shorewood High School
  • Jennifer Etter—Shorecrest High School
  • Kay Law—Ridgecrest Elementary School
  • Therese Russell—Brookside Elementary School
  • Marybeth Scherf—Lake Forrest Park Elementary School


Symetra CEO Tom Marra and Seahawks Vice President of Community Relations Mike Flood hosted a luncheon in the Coach’s Loft, welcoming the teachers, their school principals and special guests, including Seattle Public Schools Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield and Shoreline School District Superintendent Sue Walker.


Syre Elementary School second grade teacher—and 2011 Symetra Hero in the Classroom recipient—Ali Airhart reacts to her “personalized” locker in the Seattle Seahawks locker room. Photo by Larry Gill.

Following lunch, the teachers received an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium, which included taking in a view of the field from the press box. The festivities wrapped up in the Seahawks locker room, where each teacher was surprised with a “customized” locker complete with nameplate. Each teacher’s locker’s contents included a plaque commemorating his or her “Heroes” award, a hardcover book that captured moments from the 2011 classroom presentations,  and a copy of the May 18 edition of the Seattle Times, which featured a salute (p. C3) to all 24 Symetra Heroes in the Classroom recipients.

Seahawks Defensive End Red Bryant was a special guest speaker. Bryant shared a very personal story about Sue Brooks, an English teacher at Jasper High School in Texas. “As for a teacher who had an impact on my life, there’s no question, her name is Sue Brooks,” Bryant said. “The impact that she had on my life gave me the opportunity to be before you guys right now.” [Read more about Bryant and Sue Brooks.

Background-Symetra Heroes in the Classroom Program
Twenty-four K-12 teachers across the Puget Sound area were honored for educational excellence in the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom program during the 2011 NFL season. Teachers from the Seattle, Shoreline and Renton public school districts were recognized in front of their students and peers at surprise in-school presentations. In addition, they received tickets to a Seahawks home game and were acknowledged during an on-field presentation at CenturyLink Field.

Teachers are nominated by their principal, district staff, student or student’s parent. The winners are selected based on their ability to balance the core curriculum with students’ individual needs; build trust among students, parents and the community; and invest in their students’ long-term success.

MVP Award
In addition to honoring exceptional teachers on and off the field, each of the schools represented by a 2011 teacher Hero was eligible for an MVP Award, which provides funding to enhance learning via an innovative student achievement program. Three $10,000 grants were awarded at the end of the 2011 football season to Dimmitt Middle School in Renton, Meridian Park Elementary School in Shoreline and Roxhill Elementary School in West Seattle.


Group photo: STANDING, left to right, Tom Marra, Symetra CEO; Sue Walker, superintendent, Shoreline School District; Tracy Anderson, Meridian Park Elementary School and Symetra Hero in the Classroom recipient; Amy Jessee, principal, Meridian Park Elementary School; Diana Dillard, Shorewood High School and Symetra Hero in the Classroom recipient; Michael Callahan, Cascade K-8 Community School and Symetra Hero in the Classroom recipient; Marybeth Scherf, Lake Forest Park Elementary School and Symetra Hero in the Classroom recipient; Jennifer Etter, Shorecrest High School and Symetra Hero in the Classroom recipient; Craig Degginger, public information officer, Shoreline Schools; Jim Pirak, Symetra SVP, Corporate Marketing.

KNEELING, left to right, Ali Airhart, Syre Elementary School and Symetra Hero in the Classroom recipient; Lisa Gonzalez Scott, principal, Kellogg Middle School; Anne Marie Culver, Kellogg Middle School and Symetra Hero in the Classroom recipient; Trinh Pham, principal, Cascade K-8 Community School; Aimee Miner, principal, Lake Forrest Park Elementary School; Therese Russell, Brookside Elementary School and Symetra Hero in the Classroom recipient; and Bill Dunbar, principal, Shorewood High School. Photo by Larry Gill



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