Fourth Grade Teacher
“Shoot for the moon because even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars,” is what Karrie-Ann Fiske, fourth grade teacher at Hillcrest Elementary, always tells her students. She wants to teach them that they should have high expectations for themselves but understand if failure occurs, there are great lessons to be learned.
Fiske moved to Lake Stevens from Marysville in her freshman year of high school. She explained that it was a hard transition into a new school but all of her teachers were very supportive of her. One of her favorite teachers was her tenth grade DECA teacher, Doug Aubert. Fiske loved that he was a great mentor and confidence builder.
After Fiske graduated from Lake Stevens High School in 2001, she went on get her bachelor’s degree in law and criminal deviance from Western Washington University. She worked as an advocate for families who were victims of domestic violence. She felt a pull towards the children she was helping and decided to go back to school to get her master’s degree in elementary education.
This year will be Fiske’s eighth year teaching in Lake Stevens and her third year at Hillcrest. She has taught third to eighth grade and has loved every one. “Each grade has its unique set of challenges and rewards. There are things I miss and appreciate about each grade.” She has always had a heart for helping and teaching disadvantaged children.
Fiske has a passion for teaching that is evident when you hear her talk about her students. She wants them to succeed and become the best people they can be. When asked what lesson she tries to instill in her students, she responded by saying, “I want them to be really good learners but I really want them to be really good people and to learn to believe in themselves.”
Fiske is currently working towards her second master’s degree in educational leadership. Her goal is to become a school administrator.
“So many books, so little time,” said Sharri (Schwarzmiller) Sandnes, as she describes the library at Hillcrest Elementary.
Sandnes is the school librarian at Hillcrest and Skyline Elementary schools. Although bouncing back and forth between schools can be a challenge, Sandnes is very accepting of the arrangement. “I love the kids and I love reading and teaching,” she explains. Between the two schools she works with almost 1500 students!
Not only are you surrounded by books in this library, but you are also surrounded by computers that the students at Hillcrest use to learn. Sandnes described that Lake Stevens Schools are very upcoming in technology and that is one of the things she loves about working in this district.
Sandnes graduated from Lake Stevens High School in 1968 when it was known as the “Pink Palace.” In high school she loved taking art classes and went on to major in art education with an elementary education minor at Western Washington University. Sandnes always wanted to be a teacher but when she took a children’s literature class she realized that literature was the field where she wanted to work. She then received her master’s degree from the University of Washington in librarianship.
This is Sandnes’ 23rd year with the Lake Stevens School District and she shared that she loves what she does and working in the district. Sandnes is dedicated to helping children learn how to read and develop a love for reading. She even spends some of her weekends picking out new books for the library!