2023 Regional Teacher of the Year

A photo of Carolyn Gilman

Carolyn Gilman empowers and values student voice and agency in her classroom with topics based on real-world experiences

TUMWATER – July 28, 2022 – Capital Region Educational Service District (ESD) 113 has named Carolyn Gilman as their 2023 Regional Teacherofthe Year. Gilman teaches English at Olympia High School in the Olympia School District. 

Gilman believes that the ability of students to express themselves is one of the most powerful tools they can acquire. As an English teacher, her focus has been the importance of words, written and spoken. Through her classes, Gilman has also placed emphasis on the importance of community within and outside of the classroom. “Every kid has something to say,” said Gilman. “Our job as educators and mentors is to draw it out of them. We do so by fostering interaction with peers, even when the conversation veers away from our content.” 

The selection committee chose Gilman for this award because of her understanding of how the content relates to the overall student experience and how she provides multiple on-ramps to learning for students of varying needs and backgrounds. They also appreciate that the activities and experiences in her classroom build student voice and agency. 

The Capital Region ESD 113 Regional Teacher of the Year serves as one of nine candidates chosen by their respective ESDs, who will be considered for Washington State Teacher of the Year.  The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will select and announce the state winner this fall. 


  • Carolyn Gilman is an English teacher at Olympia High school in the Olympia School District. 
  • She and her students created a literary magazine complete with full artwork at Olympia High School. It won national distinctions in the NCTE REALM contest for high school literary magazines in 2020 and 2021. 
  • She began leading the school’s Poetry Out Loud program in 2008 and has served three times as a representative on the Washington State Poet Laureate selection committee. 
  • She started a poetry slam team at the school. They reached the finals of the Louder Than a Bomb poetry slam in 2019 and later toured local middle schools. 
  • She is passionate about social emotional learning and believes that as an English teacher, she has an opportunity to give students a sense of belonging and outlets to express themselves.


  • “Her engaging and creative instructional skills, her ability to find extensions outside the classroom, and her knack to inspire students to find their voice through speaking and writing all truly set her apart. Countless students, including my own children, have been empowered and inspired by Carolyn’s teaching and have left her class knowing that they have something worthy to say and the confidence and skills to say it.” – Matt Grant, Olympia High School Principal 
  • “Her class is the light at the end of every hard day, and I never leave unfulfilled thanks to her and her exquisite, extremely effective teaching style.” – Jules Blakely, Student 
  • “Carolyn truly reaches students, and this reach extends far beyond her high school classroom. She finds the spark within her students and helps them light the fire that will guide them in pursuing their interests inside and outside of school, before and after graduation.” – Kristin Costello, Olympia High School Activities Director 

For more information

About Capital Region ESD 113

The purpose of Capital Region ESD 113 is to ensure excellent and equitable education for all students through service and collaboration. Led by Superintendent Dr. Dana Anderson, ESD 113 provides services for 44 school districts, one tribal compact school, and approved private schools in Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Grays Harbor, and Pacific counties. Our goal areas include closing gaps, growing people, influencing change, and eradicating racism.


Kristen Jaudon, APR
Senior Director
Communications, Government Relation & Public Engagement