Two faculty members receive teaching awards

Two faculty members, one from Seattle Central and one from Seattle Vocational Institute, were selected by their peers to receive 2014 Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Service Awards.


Sharon Spence-Wilcox traded the travel perks of the airline industry to settle into “the joy of discovery with students and colleagues at Seattle Central,” she said.

Sharon is the Seattle Central liaison librarian to the Humanities and Basic & Transitional Students program faculty. She also helps promote a positive learning environment for students in the library and online, and participates in curriculum and advisory committees. She has been employed at the college for 18 years.

One of her co-workers said, “As library faculty, Sharon brings warmth and style to everything she does. For many students, Sharon provides not only amazing library resource and instruction, but she also serves as an anchor for academic and personal support. Her contributions to campus through committees and initiatives are too many to list, but she has left an indelible mark on the many projects she undertakes, both inside and outside the library.”


Steve Woods, Lead Instructor of the Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training (PACT) program at Seattle Vocational Institute, is a walking inspiration according to a co-worker. His personal life story, combined with his talent in the construction industry, makes him a role model to every student who enters the PACT program.

Because of a childhood illness that caused his kidneys to shut down, he spent 10 years on dialysis, but still worked to take care of his family. After reluctantly accepting a kidney from his wife, who was a perfect match, Steve is grateful for each day.

He uses his past personal struggles as a way to connect with and motivate his students, helping them realize they also can rise to face challenges. Graduates regularly thank him for his help and share examples of how his teaching helped them advance in their careers.

Last year’s winners were Camila Siegelmann, School of Apparel Design & Development and Jay McLean-Riggs, Science and Math division.