Tacoma Teacher Nate Gibbs-Bowling Receives Evergreen’s Distinguished Alumni Award

October 5, 2016

(Olympia, Wash.) – The Evergreen State College has named Nate Gibbs-Bowling as the 2016 recipient of its Joseph Albert Dear Distinguished Alumni Award. Gibbs-Bowling—a teacher and education thought leader whose writings on education and racism have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Tacoma News Tribune and most recently in Bill Gates’ blog, Gates Notes—is a graduate of Evergreen’s undergraduate Tacoma Program (’04) and its Master in Teaching program (’06). He is entering his eleventh year of teaching, currently teaching AP Human Geography and AP Government and Politics at Lincoln High School in his home town of Tacoma. He will receive his award at Evergreen’s annual Return to Evergreen alumni event on October 15. 

Gibbs-Bowling was the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year and a 2016 finalist for National Teacher of the Year. In addition to being an outstanding educator, he is known as a strong advocate for his students, calling out issues of institutionalized education inequality that affect poor families and people of color in public schools.

“Nate was an obvious and fantastic choice to receive the Joseph Albert Dear Distinguished Alumni Award,” said Dean Katz, a member of The Evergreen State College Foundation’s board of governors and the award selection committee. “As a public school teacher, Nate exemplifies the commitment to public service for which Joe will long be remembered. And as an innovative educator whose passion has touched the lives of hundreds of young people, Nate is living proof of the value and impact of an Evergreen education.”

The Joseph Albert Dear Distinguished Alumni Award is named for Joseph Dear, an Evergreen graduate (’77) who died after a long battle with prostate cancer in February 2014 at the age of 62. An accomplished public servant, Dear was noted for restoring to solvency the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s largest public pension fund, in the wake of the global financial crisis. Dear also headed the Washington State Investment Board and Department of Labor and Industries, led the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration under President Clinton, served as chief of staff to Washington Governor Gary Locke, and served on The Evergreen State College Foundation’s board of governors.

“Evergreen’s interdisciplinary approach was so empowering for Joe,” said Dear’s widow Anne Sheehan. “He found his own unique path and he believed in helping others find theirs as well. That’s why it’s so appropriate that Nate Gibbs-Bowling is receiving this award. He is a great example of someone who sees students for who they are and helps them achieve things they may not have thought possible.”

The Evergreen State College in Olympia is a public four-year liberal arts college nationally recognized for its distinctive interdisciplinary approach, strong academics and focus on undergraduate teaching. The college also has an upper division bachelor’s degree program in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood. In addition to undergraduate education, Evergreen offers three graduate degrees: Master in Teaching, Master of Environmental Studies and Master of Public Administration, including a distinctive tribal governance concentration. Info: evergreen.edu.