BEST Tips for Mentors: September 2022


Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST)


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BEST Events

Mentor Academy 101 

Sept. 28 & 29, 8am-3pm

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

Oct. 19 & 26, 8am-3pm

Jan. 24 & 26, 8am-3pm

Feb. 1 & 2, 8am-3pm

Mentor Academy 201

Sept. 26 & 27, 8am-3pm

Oct 11 & 13, 8am-3pm

Oct. 24 & 26, 8am-3pm

Jan. 30 & 31, 8am-3pm

Feb. 7 & 9, 8am-3pm

Mentoring Teachers of Special Education

Oct. 25 & 27, 8am-3pm

Feb. 6 & 8, 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. We are also offering a specialty Roundtable for School Nurses.

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.

SAVE THE DATE: Our BEST Virtual Mentor/Coach Equity Conference March 8 & 9, 2023. This year's theme is Transformational Mentoring. 

BEST Contacts

Lan Le, Administrative Program Specialist

Kati Casto de Ventura, Lead Program Supervisor

Bawaajigekwe Boulley, Program Supervisor 

Contact us:


P: (360) 725-6430

Tips for Mentors
September 2022

BEST Announcements & Updates

Mentor Roundtables

Mentor Roundtables are opportunities for mentors and coaches to build knowledge, practice skills, collaborate with colleagues, and reflect on their work supporting educator growth and pursuing educational equity.

All BEST Mentor Roundtables will be virtual (Zoom) until further notice.

  • Roundtables share the same mentoring content.
  • Some Roundtables have a focus, emphasis, or a lens to engage in content together.
  • Sign up today!

Go to our BEST website to register and for a full list of Roundtable descriptions and schedules. 

Roundtable Descriptions in the Words of Facilitators

Patricia Beuke: The Circle Way meeting structure enables us to discover our collective wisdom, who we are, and the resources we can offer to each other in our roles as mentors.

Andrea Schneider: These sessions center culturally responsive, inclusive practices and are geared for mentors of Special Education teachers.

Kathy Colombo: This session is in the afternoon geared for mentors who find their day is filled and one evening a week is just what they need to keep them going.

Dr. Tanisha Brandon-Felder: This interactive, low maintenance session allows us to dive deeper into the areas of mentoring and unpack the realities of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian educators. Perfect for Nakia cohort members current and past.

Ashley Dwight: This session welcomes all Mentors of Color! We'll have opportunities to share and learn from our stories of pride in ways that build our mentor skills, especially through imposter syndrome lens.

Christine Robinson: This Roundtable is for Educational Staff Associates (ESAs) (i.e. school: counselors, psychologists, social workers, school nurses) essentially non-classroom educators. Educators in this role have a unique role in the school and I want to offer a space where ESAs can come together in community.

Tara Van Loo: This Roundtable offers an opportunity for mentors in small or rural districts to build coaching for equity skills and share what's working with mentors in similar contexts.

Annie Kirking: This Roundtable will provide a brave and supportive space to share experiences and emotions that result from burnout and compassion fatigue while sharing resources and collective learnings and wisdom to grow and transform through difficulty.

Dr. Demetricia Hodges: This roundtable seeks to cultivate a courageous community of equity minded mentors, who desire a supportive space in which to continue building mentoring knowledge and skills through a praxis of reflection, practice and networking that can support novice educators’ professional development and growth.

Roundtable for School Nurses

BEST is offering a specialty Roundtable focusing on school nurse mentor development. This Roundtable will meet on Wednesdays from 4-5pm and has its own specialty content. Notice this specialty Roundtable is one hour (not 2 hours like our other Roundtables).

Register here or go to our BEST website


  • Cathy Meuret, MAEd, BSN, RN 
  • Rebecca Cavanaugh, MN, RN, NCSN
  • Kathleen (Katie) Johnson, DNP, RN, NCSN-E, PHNA-BC, FNASN, FAAN


  1. Application of General Mentoring Knowledge to Novice School Nurse Mentee
  2. Mentoring Standards for School Nurses
  3. Mentor and Mentee Tools
  4. Scenario and Skill Application
  5. Getting Started

Tip of the Month

Rooted in Research

By Dr. Erin Stewart & Amy Hedlund, Keeping Exceptional Special Educators (KESE) Project Staff

In the fall of 2021, OSPI was awarded a grant through the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services to increase the retention of highly qualified educators who teach students with dis/abilities, which includes a goal to strengthen mentoring of beginning special educators. In June, the project team launched a statewide survey to certified special educators in their first three years of teaching to gather their perspectives on their induction and mentoring needs. 144 special educators responded. Throughout upcoming Mentor Tips, we will share survey results and offer tips in alignment with the expressed perspectives and support needs of beginning special educators across the state. 

Survey items asked beginning special educators to rate a variety of mentor supports on a scale of 1 (not a priority) to 5 (top priority). Respondents identified support with compliance requirements (4.02), support finding resources (3.69), classroom management support (3.63), instructional support (3.55), and emotional support (3.45) as the most important mentor support priorities.  

Beginning special educators’ written comments provided additional information on what they envision as the purpose of a mentor. The survey respondents viewed mentoring as a relationship that can support their professional growth and immediate needs in their role. In addition to the support areas identified above, beginning special educators see mentoring as a form of support for the teacher evaluation process. They also want mentors to be a collaborative partner and a resource when needed as they learn their role and develop expertise. Ideas around collaborative partnership included having a mentor to engage in problem-solving, be a sounding board for ideas, to share tips and tricks, and role play to prepare for upcoming conversations or situations. Finally, several responses indicated that they also want mentors to serve as an advocate for beginning educators when necessary, which included helping them advocate for services for students or elevating beginning educators’ concerns to administrators when appropriate.


Mentor Tips for Initial Meeting with Mentee(s)

  • Define the purpose and goals of the mentor relationship. Get crystal clear with a shared understanding. 
  • Seek feedback from mentee on their needs for support. Beginning educators may not always know the purpose of a mentor or what to ask for from a mentor. Understanding beginning educators’ perspectives on ‘the why’ or purpose of mentoring can help guide mentors in communicating the services they can provide and connecting beginning educators to other sources of support within their districts. 
  • Communicate the services you can provide and connect the mentee to other sources of support within the building and district.

New Teacher Spotlight 


Shasta Brooks is an Elementary Special Education Teacher in Nine Miles Falls School District. Shasta is a second year teacher this year.

Shasta has to following advice for mentors:

“In the first session, it’s important to establish rapport with each other as well as to define the purpose (and what steps you will take together to fulfill it). However, just like with our students - relationships are the best path to success. Before the school year even started, my mentor was developing rapport with me, so I knew during those first few weeks that I had an experienced teacher to guide me.”