Jeffrey Thompson Of Fort Lewis, Wash., Named 2004 Disneyhand Teacher Of The Year

Anaheim, Calif. (July 26, 2004) – Jeffrey Thompson, a Kindergarten teacher at Evergreen Elementary school on the Fort Lewis, Wash., military post took home top honors at the 2004 DisneyHand Teacher Awards. Out of 150,000 nominees, Thompson was selected by a distinguished committee as Outstanding Elementary School Teacher, and was ultimately chosen by his peers as the 2004 DisneyHand Teacher Awards Teacher of the Year.

“This is beyond the dreams I have dreamed,” said Thompson. “It is an honor to have been chosen Teacher of the Year by the selection committee and the 38 other amazing teachers honored tonight. This is something I will carry with me forever and it will inspire me to continue to make dreams come true for the children in my classroom.”

Thompson, who teaches two half-day Kindergarten programs at Evergreen Elementary, estimates that 95% of his students have a parent deployed overseas.

Other honorees during the evening included Warren G. Phillips, a 7th grade science and TV technology teacher from Plymouth, Mass., who was named Outstanding Middle School Teacher; High School science and chemistry teacher Glenn D. Lid of Maywood, Ill., who was named Outstanding High School Teacher; and Hector Ibarra, a 6th and 7th grade teacher at West Branch Middle School in West Branch, Iowa, who was honored for using community service as a teaching methodology. The Youth Service America Award was presented to Ibarra, the first recipient, by multi-platinum performing artist and former special education teacher Clay Aiken.

Each of the 39 honorees was awarded $10,000, with their respective schools each receiving $5,000 from The Walt Disney Company. Phillips and Lid, as Outstanding Teacher Award recipients, will take home an additional $15,000 each. Thompson, as Teacher of the Year and an Outstanding Teacher Award winner, will receive a total of $40,000.

All teachers involved in the 2004 DisneyHand Teacher Awards enjoyed a five-day extravaganza at The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. July 22-26, which culminated in the Awards Gala last night. Throughout the week, the teachers learned innovative approaches to teaching, learning and leadership at professional development programs; attended exclusive VIP events/parties; appeared at a ceremony at Disneyland Park where they were honored by Mickey Mouse; appeared in a parade down Main Street; and shone with glamorous new looks from “costume designer to the stars,” Ret Turner.

In October 2004, the teachers and their principals will attend a workshop/seminar at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Here, the educators will share creative teaching methods and work together to develop action plans that focus on improving professional collaboration and teacher learning in their schools for the 2004-2005 academic year.

Since 1989, Disney has saluted more than 500 exemplary teachers in Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade for innovative teaching methods that actively engage students in learning. The focus of the DisneyHand Teacher Awards is to recognize the teaching profession, showcase creativity in the classroom, and honor those who can assist in developing creative teaching strategies in their school districts.

DisneyHand Teacher Awards is part of DisneyHand, worldwide outreach for The Walt Disney Company, dedicated to making the dreams of families and children a reality through public service initiatives, community outreach and volunteerism in areas of learning, compassion, the arts and the environment.

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise which includes Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, The Walt Disney Studios, ABC, Inc., ESPN, Disney Channel, Disney Consumer Products, television and radio stations and Internet web sites. For more information on Disney’s corporate public service efforts, please visit our Web site at