BEST Tips for Mentors: August 2022


Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST)


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BEST Events

Mentor Academy 101 

August 15 & 22, 8am-3pm

August 16 & 18, 8am-3pm

Sept. 20 & 27, 8am-3pm

Sept. 28 & 29, 8am-3pm

Sept 28 & Oct 5, 12, 19, 4-7pm

Oct. 15 & 22 (Saturday), 8am-3pm

Mentor Academy 201

August 23 & 25, 8am-3pm

Sept. 26 & 27, 8am-3pm

Oct 11 & 13, 8am-3pm

Oct. 24 & 26, 8am-3pm

Mentoring Teachers of Special Education

Oct. 25 & 27, 8am-3pm

Mentoring ESAs *NEW!

Dates TBD for upcoming school year

Mentor Roundtables 

There are many different roundtables at different times of day and days of the week. There are roundtables for mentors of color (BIPOC), mentors of special education teachers, mentors experiencing compassion fatigue/burnout, mentors in small or rural districts, mentors of ESAs, and mentors looking for a roundtable experience that utilizes the circle way protocol.

Book Circle

Coaching for Equity book circle has launched! Mentor Book Circles are 6-session book studies led by BEST Mentor Faculty, and are only encouraged if you are able to commit to attending all six sessions fully as capacity is limited.

Check out the BEST Events & Trainings page to register for open opportunities! BEST will continue to provide all events online until further notice.

BEST Contacts

Lan Le, Program Administrator

Kati Casto de Ventura, Lead Program Supervisor

Bawaajigekwe Boulley, Program Supervisor 

Contact us:


P: (360) 725-6430

Tips for Mentors
August 2022

black ash basket

Image is of a black ash basket made by April Stone, Knowledge Bearer and artist of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.  Photo taken by Ms. Stone.

Starting the Year with Intentions of Generosity

by Bawaajigekwe 

Many are familiar with the phrase, "keep your vessel full." I like to imagine my vessel as a basket. A couple of years ago, I heard this message delivered in a way that hit differently. My mentor explained that what is in my basket is meant for my own sustenance. She explained it is the overflow we give or gift to others, and it is the overflow where the sweetest parts of us live.

As educators we often begin the new school year with an abundance, and then somewhere down the road we start to pull from our own vessels to give to everyone else around us. Encouragement is offered to keep your vessel full with the intention of sustainability and sustenance. This is a form of setting boundaries and is not an act of selfishness but rather an act of generosity.   

Here are a series of prompts to consider for yourself as a mentor or coach and to share and consider together with your mentee or team. Visit them periodically.

How are you showing up today?

What are you bringing in your basket?

How does this impact yourself and others?

What keeps your vessel full? 

Where do you rest or what do you rely upon to feel supported? 

What grounds you? 

What does it look like, sound like, feel like when your needs are met and you show up in health and wealth? 

When do you begin the process of showing up?   

Tools for Your Mentor and Coach Toolbox

Have you ever been engaged with a DIY project at home and needed a tool but weren't sure which tool until you picked it up and tried it? Well, that can also be the case with mentoring and coaching.

Take a moment to check your mentor and coach toolbox to see what you have. Perhaps there are tools in need of repair or are no longer being used and can be recycled so new tools can be added. It is worth taking a few moments to see what you have and assess their effectiveness for the needs of the times. Then, you can start the year with your mentee or team feeling confident, prepared, and ready to help!

Here are two great place to find some FREE tools:

Check out Elena Aguilar's Coaching for Equity Tools to help spruce up your toolbox. Bonus: you will find lots of extras on her Bright Morning website from her newsletter to her podcast and more! 

Check out the Mentoring Matters website. Bonus: you will also find lots of extras here too including a newsletter archive, resources in Spanish, and more!

NAKIA Academy

The 2022 Fall NAKIA Academy Application is now open and closes on August 15. Take time to make sure you are available on the scheduled dates before applying. A full list of dates are listed in the application as well as on WEA's website.

Nakia Academy

The 2022 Fall NAKIA Academy application is now open and closes on August 15.

On behalf of the WEA Early Career Educators and OSPI's Beginning Educator Support Team, you are invited to apply to the growing class of mentors in NAKIA Academy.

NAKIA Academy is a mentoring and leadership academy by people of color and open to people of color (all who identify as BIPOC). The training covers Mentor Academy 101 content that is specific for BIPOC educators and can be taken in place of Mentor Academy 101. The purpose of NAKIA Academy, named for a fictional unsung hero and a humanitarian whose philosophy includes lifting others up, is a community that is in continuous growth and support. It currently engages authentically with more than 180 people of color members to lead, organize and create equitable spaces in education.

This fall, the academy will bring some 90 certificated educators (ESAs included) together in three cohort groups over a four-month period focused on thinking, learning, interacting, skill-building, and fun.

Should you be selected, you will receive a $600 stipend as your wisdom and work are both valued and respected. You also will be able to receive 20 clock hours for your participation. If you'd like to learn more about NAKIA Academy, contact Torian Hodges-Finch with WEA.

Topics include: Understanding identity, relationship building, confidentiality, conversation skills, mentor roles, connection and healing, imposter syndrome.