2019 teacher of the year

Keri Pilgrim Ricker

In a surprise assembly today, Churchill High School Health Occupations educator Keri Pilgrim Ricker was named Oregon’s 2019 Teacher of the Year. Director of the Oregon Department of Education Colt Gill was joined by Governor Kate Brown, Eugene School District Superintendent Gustavo Balderas and Churchill High Principal Greg Borgerding in honoring Pilgrim Ricker for her passionate leadership and tireless advocacy for students.

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Previous Winners

  • 2019 - Keri Pilgrim Ricker,
    Churchill High School
  • 2018 - Matthew Bacon-Brenes,
    Mt. Tabor Middle School
  • 2017 - Gloria Pereyra-Robertson,
    Howard Elementary School - Medford, Oregon
  • 2016 - Heather Anderson,
    Juniper Elementary, Bend, OR
  • 2015 - Michael Lindblad,
    Gresham High School, Gresham, OR
  • 2014 - Brett Bigham,
    Multnomah Education Service District
  • 2013 - Nanette Lehman,
    Haines Elementary in the Baker School District
  • 2012 - Elena Garcia-Velasco,
    SEIS@Roosevelt Campus, Portland, OR
  • 2011 - Colleen Works,
    Corvallis High School, Corvallis, OR
  • 2010 - Donna DuBois,
    Camas Ridge Community School, Eugene, OR
  • 2009 - Michael Lampert,
    West Salem High School, Salem, OR
  • 2008 - Mike Geisen,
    Crook County Middle School, Prineville, OR
  • 2007 - Jackie Cooke,
    West Gresham Grade School, Gresham, OR
  • 2006 - Allan Bruner,
    Colton High School, Colton, OR
  • 2005 - Steven Wyborney,
    Nyssa Elementary School, Nyssa, OR
  • 2004 - Catherine H. Thurber-Brown,
    Tigard High School, Tigard, OR
  • 2003 - Carrie Carpenter,
    Hugh Hartman Middle School, Redmond, OR
  • 2002 - Deborah Jean White,
    Lyle Elementary School, Dallas, OR
  • 2001 - Norma Barber,
    Ukiah School District 80R, Ukiah, OR
  • 2000 - Xochtil Fuhriman-Ebert,
    Ontario Middle School, Ontario, OR
  • 1999 - Dave Bertholf,
    Clear Lake Elementary School, Keizer, OR
  • 1998 - Nicki Gayle Hudson,
    West Linn High School, West Linn, OR
  • 1997 - C. Ford Morishita,
    Clackamas High School, Milwaukie, OR
  • 1996 - Raymond Hasart,
    Redmond High School, Redmond, OR
  • 1995 - Barbara L. Murray,
    West Linn High School, West Linn, OR
  • 1994 - Joanne E. Johnson,
    Goshen Elementary School, Eugene, OR
  • 1993 - Sally Leahy,
    Glendale High School, Glendale, OR
  • 1992 - Daniel Tilson,
    Eastwood Elementary School, Roseburg, OR
  • 1991 - Bonnie Elliott,
    Bend Senior High School, Bend, OR
  • 1990 - Stuart Perlmeter,
    Springfield Middle School, Springfield, OR
  • 1989 - Edward Lee McKinney,
    Obsidian Junior High School, Redmond, OR
  • 1988 - Vincent A. Wixon,
    Crater High School, Central Point, OR
  • 1987 - Dorothy Sawyer,
    Gladstone High School, Gladstone, OR
  • 1986 - James R. Erickson,
    Redmond Senior High, Redmond, OR
  • 1985 - Rick Wetherell,
    North Bend High School, North Bend, OR
  • 1984 - Evelyn Mae Andrews,
    Tualatin Elementary School, Tualatin, OR
  • 1983 - Jean Hoem,
    Oregon School for the Blind, Salem, OR
  • 1982 - Lynda Hatch,
    Pilot Butte Junior High School, Bend, OR
  • 1981 - Bonnie Morgan,
    Sam Barlow High School, Gresham, OR
  • 1980 - Marlene Tymchuk,
    Reedsport High School, Reedsport, OR
  • 1979 - Chester K. Bowser,
    Crater High School, Central Point, OR
  • 1978 - Joy Jeannine Linder,
    Tualatin School, Tualatin, OR
  • 1977 - Douglas D. Anderson,
    McMinnville High School, McMinnville, OR
  • 1976 - Nola W. Coval,
    Brown Junior High School, Hillsboro, OR
  • 1975 - Joyce J. Osternig,
    Winston Churchill High School, Eugene, OR
  • 1974 - Mike Ford,
    Waluga Junior High School, Lake Oswego, OR
  • 1973 - John Arthur Ensworth – National Teacher of the Year,
    Kenwood Elementary School Bend, OR
  • 1972 - Verne Martin,
    Twality Junior High School, Tigard, OR
  • 1971 - John A. Duncan,
    Blossom Gulch Elementary and Marshfield Junior High Schools, Coos Bay, OR
  • 1970 - Carlton Bryson,
    Benson High School, Portland, OR
  • 1969 - Arlene Nelson,
    Lake Oswego Junior High School, Lake Oswego, OR
  • 1968 - James Grossnicklaus,
    Philomath High School, Philomath, OR
  • 1967 - Gene Doty, National Teacher of the Year Finalist,
    Hillsboro Union High School, Hillsboro, OR
  • 1966 - Norman Anderson,
    Tillamook High School, Tillamook, OR
  • 1965 - John McManus, National Teacher of the Year Finalist,
    McMinnville Junior & Senior High School, McMinnville, OR
  • 1964 - Marie Prescott,
    Ashland Elementary, Ashland, OR
  • 1963 - Gladys B. Belden, National Teacher of the Year Finalist,
    Albany Union High School, Albany, OR
  • 1962 - Lorraine Sabo, National Teacher of the Year Finalist,
    Meriwether Lewis Elementary School, Portland, OR
  • 1959 - Mary Hawkes, National Teacher of the Year Finalist,
    Hood River High School, Hood River, OR
  • 1955 - Margaret Perry, National Teacher of the Year,
    Monmouth Elementary School, Monmouth, OR

Oregon Teacher of the Year Program

Every year, each of the 50 states, U.S. territories, DC, and the Department of Defense Education Activity names a teacher of the year. The Oregon Teacher of the Year Program started in 1955 when elementary school teacher Margaret (Perry) Teufel of Monmouth Elementary School won the honor. Beginning in 2018-19, the Oregon Teacher of the Year program is expanding to celebrate exemplary educators in every region of the state! Outstanding teachers will be honored in up to 19 Education Service District regions in Oregon, and then be entered to win the recognition of 2019 Oregon Teacher of the Year. Watch this video to learn more about the 2019 Oregon Teacher of the Year Expansion.

Candidates for Oregon Teacher of the Year should be exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled public school educators in grades preK-12 (administrative responsibilities should be of secondary consideration). The candidate should be planning to continue in an active teaching status.

In addition, candidates for Oregon Teacher of the Year should:

  • Be an expert in their field who guides students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence.
  • Collaborate with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success.
  • Deliberately connect the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community at large.
  • Demonstrate leadership and innovation in and outside of the classroom walls that embodies lifelong learning.
  • Express themselves in an engaging and articulate way.


The Oregon Teacher of the Year Program recognizes and honors teacher excellence, with the Teacher of the Year serving as the face and voice of exemplary educators across the state. As a representative of the profession, this teacher leader is asked to engage and inspire other teachers and community leaders. Among other activities of their choice, they present at workshops; speak at education conferences and meetings; address student, civic, higher education, and governmental groups; participate in professional development at local, state, and national levels;  and operate special programs in accordance with their interests and expertise. Publicly recognizing outstanding teachers encourages students to think about teaching as a career, and provides the community a sense of pride and investment in their teachers who are making a positive impact on student’s lives every day.


Thanks to the Oregon Department of Education’s partnership with the Oregon Lottery, the Oregon Teacher of the Year receives a gift award of $5,000 as well as a special fund to cover all travel costs for the year. In addition, a matching monetary gift ($5,000) goes to the Teacher of the Year’s school. The winner also receives gifts and recognition from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), founder of the National Teacher of the Year Program. Finally, the first and second runners up receive a $2,000 cash award, and regional winners each receive $500 as a part of the Oregon Department of Education’s partnership with the Oregon Lottery.