2013 teacher of the year

Nanette Lehman

At a school assembly this afternoon, Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton announced that Nanette Lehman, a second grade teacher at Haines Elementary in the Baker School District, has been named Oregon’s 2012-13 Teacher of the Year.

As Oregon’s Teacher of the Year, Nanette will serve as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers and will attend the National Teacher of the Year forum in Washington, D.C. where she will meet the President and U.S. Secretary of Education.

“Nanette is a passionate teacher leader whose work both in the classroom and in staff development has earned her the respect, admiration, and trust of her colleagues, parents, and students,” said Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton. “She exemplifies the qualities we look for in outstanding teachers – creativity, dedication, a love of learning, mastery of content, and a true commitment to excellence.  I am honored to name her the 2012-13 Oregon Teacher of the Year.”

Nanette teaches second grade in a small, high-poverty, rural school in eastern Oregon.  The school, Haines Elementary, was recognized this summer as one of 30 Model Schools in the state – high-poverty schools identified for their successful student outcomes.  Nanette serves as a teacher leader in both her school and district. She is on the site council, serves as co-chair of the Parent Teacher Community Organization, leads the Math Cadre for her district, and has served as Board Member and National Representative for the Oregon Council of Teaching Mathematics.  A strong believer in the importance of professional development, she holds herself and her colleagues to the same high standards she has for her students.

Highly skilled at differentiating instruction, Nanette is able to individualize her teaching to meet the needs of all of her students regardless of whether they are struggling or accelerated learners.  She creates a safe, fun, and interactive learning environment that encourages students to be high-achieving risk-takers.

Baker School District Superintendent Walt Wegener wrote in a letter of recommendation, “I have seen her children discussing with each other the Associative, Multiplicative, and Distributive properties of Algebra cogently and with interest.  These are general education students in the second grade.  This is because Mrs. Lehman works with each child, each day, using high yield methods aligned with content. It is also because Mrs. Lehman, a master teacher, interfaces with students’ families to get the support at home that makes each child a great success in class.”

Nanette is passionate about continuous improvement.  She dives into student data to find ways to improve her teaching and student outcomes.  She uses technology tools to enhance instruction and engage student interest.  And she embraces rigor, collaboration, and the need for change to keep schools advancing and to better prepare students for their futures.  Nanette sees the rigorous Common Core State Standards – which Oregon and over 40 other states have adopted – as one of the major challenges and opportunities for our teachers as we work to get all students ready for college and career.

In her application, Nanette wrote: “Knowing the content extensively, understanding differentiation completely, responding with intervention strategically, and motivating students intrinsically are essential in implementing the Common Core Standards. Teachers will rise to the challenge.  We will always have professional frustrations, but we must not allow them to keep us from completing our mission.  We will prepare all students for a rewarding future of being contributing citizens in our ever changing society.”

The Oregon Teacher of the Year is selected after an extensive application process. Nominees from schools throughout Oregon submitted packets of information that included testimonials and letters of support from their principals, superintendents, and colleagues. From the written material, applicants were judged on leadership, instructional expertise, understanding of educational issues, professional development, and vision. Nanette Lehman succeeds 2011-12 Teacher of the Year Elena Garcia-Velasco, a Spanish teacher in Portland Public Schools.  As part of her recognition, Nanette will receive a $5,000 cash award sponsored by the American Institutes for Research.  Other sponsors include SMART Technologies and Salem Trophy.