The Centralia College Foundation is pleased to announce Ron Podmore, a 1987 graduate of Centralia College, as the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus.
Podmore is a 1985 graduate of W.F. West High School in Chehalis. He started taking classes at Centralia College that fall and earned an associate of arts degree in the spring of 1987. He went on to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and later earned a bachelor’s degree at Western Washington University, a master’s degree in education from Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, and an administrative license from Pacific Lutheran University.
“The very foundation of my post-secondary success lies in what seeds were planted while I was at Centralia College,” Podmore said. “For that, I am ever grateful for the instruction I received. Without it, I would not have gotten where I am today. Centralia College played a pivotal role in unlocking my academic potential. I realized for the first time that maybe I could achieve beyond high school. ”
In 1999, he received the Golden Apple Award from PBS/KCTS. He was the first deaf teacher to receive the award. In 2009, he became the first deaf American to achieve National Board Professional Teaching Standards certification.
For the past four years, he has been an arts and humanities professor at Bellevue College. In addition, for the last 20 years, he has taught college-readiness, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), and American Sign Language for Federal Way Public Schools.
Most recently, he returned to Washington, D.C., to work with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Foundation. Each month, he and a team of nine others wrote standards for the rigorous national board exams.
In his free time, he has published two books. He was the authorized biographer to Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin. He has participated in multiple humanitarian trips to Guatemala, working in the UNESCO village of Antigua.
Podmore will be a featured speaker at Centralia College’s commencement ceremony in June.