For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2023
Sara Groves 202-483-7382
Edmonds, Wash. – Just in time for Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8–12), TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—has named Woodway Center kindergarten teacher Malorie Cook a 2023 Teacher of the Year Runner-Up. She has been teaching for 10 years and has organized virtual and in-person field trips to Pasado’s Safe Haven animal sanctuary; taught her young students to be kind to the smallest and most maligned animals, such as bats and spiders; and much more.
Cook, who has been nicknamed “the spider relocator” for gently escorting uninvited arachnids and insects out of her classroom, teaches students to develop reverence for the animals they share the world with, including squirrels, birds, and the orcas who call the nearby ocean home, through lessons about native wildlife. She displays photos of rescued goats, cows, and sheep who live at Pasado’s Safe Haven—where she volunteers—in her classroom and uses her students’ questions as an opportunity to share the animals’ stories and talk about vegan eating. Cook’s influence is quantifiable: One student who entered her class afraid of animals found a love for them by the end of the year, and a parent overcame her fear of bats after learning about these fascinating mammals through her child.
“Malorie Cook’s lessons about respecting animals and the planet have inspired her young learners and even their parents,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “TeachKind is thrilled to recognize this outstanding teacher for showing that it’s never too soon to start teaching kids kindness.”
In celebration, Cook will receive a framed certificate and a gift basket from TeachKind.
TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The group offers free resources, presentations, lessons, and more to help teachers add compassion to their curricula. For more information, please visit TeachKind.org or follow the group on Facebook, or Instagram.