Shorewood teacher honored as top photography educator

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sally Tonkin, photography and English teacher at Shorewood High School, received the Honored Educator award recently at the Society for Photographic Education (SPE) Northwest Regional Conference. This was the first time this award has gone to a high school educator.

Tonkin was nominated by Walter Bodle, the founder of a non-profit organization for at-risk kids called Youth in Focus. She is a member of the board at YIF, which is an after-school program that uses intensive photography training as a tool to help disadvantaged teens develop personal voice, positive identity, social skills and artistic skills.

"Sally Tonkin is an exceptional, inspiring and motivational educator," her nomination read in part. She believes that the creation of a photograph is a transformative experience: it takes the photographer outside of him or herself and forces them to interact with the wider world. But, at the same time, it compels the photographer to look inward and examine and express how they see the world."

Sally has taught art, English and photography at Shorewood High School since 1995, following a career as a newspaper photographer. She was selected by the state as one of four teachers to develop standards for high school photography classes. She received an Adobe Fellowship for skills using software programs to help students see their creative concepts realized. Her students have consistently placed in the top three in the Washington State High School Photography Contest, and many have gone on to study photography in college.

SPE, a national nonprofit organization, provides not only a forum for the discussion of photography as a means of creative expression and cultural insight, but nurtures its development through teaching, criticism, and scholarship. To view Sally's photography work, see her website


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