From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Trinity School’s Dan Hill is ‘Outstanding Teacher of the Year’

Story and photo by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the Feb. 27, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

Dan Hill is this year’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Besides his teaching duties, Hill is Trinity School’s athletic director and vice-principal. (IR photo)

Dan Hill, Trinity School’s junior high teacher, was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year during National Catholic Schools Week. The award was presented at a breakfast sponsored by Gonzaga University Jan. 31.

The award came as a complete surprise. “I went there ready to eat,” Hill said. During the breakfast, though, Mike Trudeau, Trinity’s principal, was called to the podium to name his teacher as Catholic School Teacher of the Year. “That was even nicer,” Hill said.

Gonzaga University sponsored the early morning meal, under the new dean of education, Dr. Shirley Williams. One teacher and one student and family from each Catholic school in the diocese were invited to attend. Bishop William Skylstad was on hand to lead a prayer service and share the meal with educators and students.

Dr. Williams believes that as a Catholic university, GU needs to recognize the accomplishments of Catholic schools. “We’re all part of the same mission,” she said.

Hill has been a teacher for 12 years, with the first two years spent as a substitute. He has been at Trinity the past five years. Before that he taught at St. Paschal School, Spokane, and then at a public school in Addy, Wash.

His favorite classroom age is junior high; “that’s all I’ve ever taught,” he said. “I love this grade the most.” There are 22 seventh and eighth graders in his Trinity class, about half boys and half girls.

Hill grew up in Spokane, and attended All Saints School for eight years. His family moved to Seattle, where he graduated from high school. He graduated from Eastern Washington University and earned his master’s degree from Gonzaga University.

He wanted to be a coach since, he said, “I love sports, especially baseball.” He decided a good way to coach was to become a teacher. Once he got into teaching, he knew that was what he wanted to do.

His sports duties at Trinity are beyond coaching; he serves as athletic director. He is also vice-principal.

According to Mike Trudeau, Hill “has created a learning environment that supports the needs of his students and leads them to strive to make their lives better both spiritually and academically.”

Hill’s encouragement of his students takes many forms. One junior high project is a monthly school newspaper. Another is preparing academic readings which are given at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane each spring.

Hill’s students are also involved in community projects, Trudeau said. Small groups of his students deliver food to elderly people. They also write letters to the elderly and are given other civic and parish projects.

Trudeau said that during Lent, Hill’s class prepares a “Living Stations of the Cross” to present to St. Joseph and St. Anthony parishes as well as to Trinity’s student body.

Hill knows the importance of civics. He stresses that subject with the eighth grade class. Trudeau said Hill arranges field-learning experiences, such as visits to the courthouse, the juvenile detention center and even to Olympia to meet with state legislators.

Currently, his students are working on inventions for a contest sponsored by Craftsman Tools. “It’s a good way for them to learn that everything was an invention once,” he said.

Hill’s wife, Angela, is the kindergarten teacher at Trinity. The couple has two daughters, Emily and Grace. Hill wants to be their coach when they get old enough for sports.

Hill was modest about the honor, saying that any of the other teachers could have won it. He was more forthright about the benefits of Catholic schools: “They’re the best, and I’d like to put that on a big billboard somewhere.”

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