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News / Clark County News

Wy’east teacher gains rich experience in N.Y.

He was a runner-up in contest on 'Live! with Regis and Kelly'

By Howard Buck
Published: May 18, 2011, 12:00am

See the “Live!” segment:

He didn’t snag the grand prize, but Wy’east Middle School teacher Jed Mickelson surely didn’t return empty-handed from the Big Apple. He was handed a hefty Golden Apple trophy, in fact.

Mickelson shined during his Friday appearance on “Live! with Regis and Kelly,” joining the hosts onstage in New York City following a four-minute video shot in Vancouver.

Following weekend online voting to winnow five finalists, a special-education teacher from Oceanside, N.Y., Penny Ellis, was named the show’s Top Teacher for 2011. She won a new automobile and a cash prize for her school.

For Mickelson’s good work, Wy’east will receive 35 M&A Companion Touch interactive tablets computers for students. The show also arranged for an upgrade of his home’s heating-cooling system. And, he’ll be shipped that handsome trophy.

There was nothing but sunshine and pleasant temperatures while Mickelson and his wife, Suzanne, enjoyed sightseeing in Manhattan, he said.

There was a daylong walk from the Staten Island Ferry landing to Times Square, passing through the business district, Chinatown and Little Italy, then a second day spent exploring Central Park and nearby museums. The latter included lunch with a former Wy’east student of Mickelson’s, now attending New York University.

“I wanted to walk New York, and experience New York. Our goal was to not ever be in a line,” Mickelson said.

The show’s host and crew were gracious, he said. He also met that day’s guest, actor Chris Colfer, who plays super-talented diva Kurt Hummel on the hit TV show “Glee.”

“I thanked him for being a positive role model, for kids that are gay — they don’t need to be picked on,” said Mickelson, who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade English and social studies.

“The whole experience was truly outstanding for my wife and I,” Mickelson said. He was nominated for the show’s award by former Wy’east parent Beth Hammer, but said he shares the honor with his many excellent co-workers.

“There are so many wonderful teachers out there. I wish there could be recognition for everyone,” he said. The trip came as the Evergreen district issued contract non-renewal notices to nearly 2,000 teachers and other employees, 180 of whom who might actually receive pink slips if potential deep budget cuts are required

“It pains me, the same week, we had all those layoff (notices). I wish things were different in the world of education,” he said.