Kate Napolitan

Kate Napolitan, a doctoral student in special education, has been recognized as one of two recipients of the University of Washington's 2015 Excellence in Teaching Award.

The award honors UW graduate student instructors who enrich the classroom through meaningful and creative teaching approaches. Napolitan and other recipients of the UW's Awards of Excellence was honored during a 3:30 p.m. June 11 ceremony at Meany Hall.

"I have been honored to work with teacher candidates during my time at the University of Washington," Napolitan said. "Teachers in public schools are the hardest working people I know — and to be a part of the hope and possibility candidates bring each year to the profession, to hear of their work in their classrooms during student teaching and after graduation, has been humbling."

In nominating Napolitan for the award, College of Education students and faculty praised her teaching skills and her role developing the Community-Family-Politics strand in the UW's teacher education program. They commended her for creating powerful learning experiences to enable prospective teachers to expand their repertoire for establishing alliances across divisions of race, ethnicity, language and class and introducing them to local teachers.

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of a university teaching award," said Ken Zeichner, one of her advisers and Boeing Professor of Teacher Education. "Her commitment to preparing teachers who can reduce inequities in public education is inspiring."

Before coming to UW College of Education, Napolitan was an elementary public school teacher in southwest Seattle and a graduate of Seattle Public Schools. She has worked with UW teacher candidates as a coach and instructor since 2010, and her advisers are education professors Joe Jenkins and Zeichner.

She comes from a family of public school teachers and her daughter is currently in kindergarten in Seattle Public Schools, placed with a teacher who Napolitan coached.

Napolitan noted that working with teacher candidates nourishes her own teaching.

"It has been a privilege to be a small part of candidates’ journey to becoming teachers — and I am grateful for all they have taught me," she said.


Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications

206-543-1035, dwunder@uw.edu