Olympic ESD 114 Regional Teacher of the Year
Chimacum School District | Chimacum High School
Sierra Nevada College, Bachelor of Arts, 2005
Sierra Nevada College, Master of Arts, Teaching, 2007
Gary Coyan moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2009. He teaches art and foods classes at Chimacum High School. Gary believes CTE should be deeply rooted in the community. Gary’s lessons and approach to teaching are rooted in experiential learning and real world relevance. He uses field trips to organic farms to teach students about corporate ethics and accountability and how those things impact their community. His art students have the chance to leave their actual mark on the community through his biennial mural project. This project, which began as a tribute to a much-loved teacher, has evolved into a tradition that engages all art students at their level of ability and creates a visual reminder of their achievements.
Gary is happy to share his passions for art, good food, and organic farming with students at Chimacum High School. By working together with the horticulture teacher he is able to coordinate the classes so that much of the produce utilized in the foods class is grown by horticulture students in the greenhouse. Gary's foods students keep and maintain a worm composting bin where the classes’ foods scraps are processed for eventual use in the school garden. Similarly, his students takes the lead on the high school bee apiary that he maintains with the help of the Tri-Area Garden Club and the East Jefferson Bee Keepers Association. Gary has found that when learning is real and lasting, students thrive.
Gary is also the work-based learning coordinator, senior class advisor, middle school football and basketball coach, and coordinates the FEED program.
“Gary was my mentor for my senior project, an AP Drawing portfolio,” writes student Cierra Cabanilla. “Gary has, of course, helped me become comfortable with myself as an artist in the time that I have had with him. He has also helped me become comfortable with myself as a person by helping me come out of my shell and talking me through numerous bad days or instances of crisis or problems I couldn’t begin wot work out on my own. I speak on behalf of many students when I say that Gary Coyan has been so much more than a teacher to us.”