Dan Alderson ('04) teaching an English 10 class at Lake Stevens High School

English 10 at Lake Stevens High School. Daniel Alderson (’04) is teaching. On the right side of the classroom, students are sitting quietly, writing their compare-and-contrast essays. In the back, others are in a lively discussion, trying to determine the author’s purpose. In the front, they’re sketching a graphic organizer to understand the structure of the introduction. Alderson flits between the three groups, listening and offering suggestions.

“It’s a classroom management nightmare, but when it’s rocking, it’s really rocking. I try to meet students where they are,” said Alderson, who lives and works near Everett, Wash. “When students get the piece that they need from a teacher, they get more done.”

His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Last October, he received the prestigious Milken Award for excellence in teaching. With the award comes $25,000. When his name was called at a school assembly, Alderson – a self-proclaimed chatterbox any other time – was speechless. “I’m a teacher, I talk, that’s what we do,” he said. “But all I could say was ‘thank you.’ I’m even speechless now.”

-Lauren Campbell (’13)

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