Peace Corps Group Finds Champion in 2018 Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning

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Peace Corps Community for Refugees praises Spokane, Washington teacher for her commitment to help immigrant and refugee students excel in the classroom and to share their success stories with top officials in Washington this week.

"We strongly support Mandy's efforts to make the public and elected leaders aware of the many immigrant and refugee students who have succeeded in school and later in life. These are stories that need to be told, " said Barbara Busch, head of the Peace Corps Community for Refugees

Mandy Manning’s choice as 2018 National Teacher of the Year came as thrilling news last week to a national group of former Peace Corps volunteers who support refugees in the United States. The Spokane, WA, teacher has taught refugee and immigrant students for the past decade, inspiring them with her message of hope.

“I’m very excited for this opportunity to tell about my students, and to give some perspective,” Manning told members of the Peace Corps Community for Refugees in a meeting in Washington D.C. yesterday. As Manning sets off on a year-long advocacy as Teacher of the Year, the all-volunteer group of returned Peace Corps volunteers believes she can become a powerful spokesperson for a more tolerant and positive approach toward refugees and immigration.

“My students are brilliant!” said Manning, who believes her role advocating for refugees and immigrants is to “create a space for people to tell their own stories.”

Manning cited her Peace Corps experience in Armenia as helping prepare her for teaching at Joel E. Ferris High School in a Newcomer Center where students learn about American culture along with academics.

“Meeting Mandy can bring tears to your eyes— for her dedication to and love of her students and for her great skill and commitment as a teacher. It makes us proud as Peace Corps alumni to hear her credit her volunteer experience with helping prepare her for this work,” said Barbara Busch, who heads the Peace Corps Community for Refugees. (Of the more than 230,000 Americans who have joined the Peace Corps since 1961, more than a third have gone into education after their Peace Corps service, according to the National Peace Corps Association.)

"We strongly support Mandy's efforts to make the public and elected leaders aware of the many immigrant and refugee students who have succeeded in school and later in life. These are stories that need to be told," Busch said.

Administered by the Council of Chief State School Officers, the teacher’s award is given annually to shine a national spotlight on excellence in teaching.

The Washington D.C.-based Peace Corps Community for Refugees engages former Peace Corps volunteers in advocating for humane immigration policies and helping refugee families resettle in their communities. For more information, visit our website: PCC4Refugees.org.

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