Mandy Manning

Ask Mandy Manning, the 2018 National Teacher of the Year, to sum up her experience as a teacher in one word, and her response would be, “empowering.”

Manning, who teaches English and math to refugee and immigrant children at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington, enters her classroom each day ready to be inspired. “When I step into my classroom, I am surrounded by hope,” says Manning. “My students are a symbol of that; everything is available and open to them.”

Public education is a topic Manning, an 18-year teaching veteran, keeps close to her heart. Calling it a “great equalizer,” Manning sees education as an opportunity to promote equity.

“Public schools offer education for every single kid, no matter who they are, what they look like, or where they come from,” she says. “Every student has equal potential in my eyes. Every child can and will be successful.”