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2019 Teacher of the Year

Keri Pilgrim Ricker

2019 Teacher of the Year

Keri Pilgrim Ricker

With a background in biology, ecology, and animal science, educator Keri Pilgrim Ricker guides her students through customized curriculum rooted in inquiry, diversity, and real-world application.

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Our 2019 Regional Winners

The Oregon Department of Education, in partnership with the Oregon Lottery, presents 2019's Regional Teachers of the Year! Winners received a $500 award. The top three finalists also received $2,000!

Todd Jones

Todd Jones

  • School: West Linn High School
  • Teaches: Social Studies
  • Grade Level: High School

Oregon Teacher of the Year Finalist

“Why do I teach? Each day is an opportunity for me to love and be loved. Who wouldn’t want that for a career? Love your kids as if they're your own. In truth, they are. ”
Matt Rutledge

Matt Rutledge

  • School: Mosier Community School
  • Teaches: Elementary Education
  • Grade Level: 4 & 5

“Educating students is challenging. But it is also one of the most rewarding endeavors in which a human being can engage.”
Michele Engle

Michele Engle

  • School: Monument School
  • Teaches: Language Arts and Career Technical Education
  • Grade Level: 7-12

“We live in the most perfect scientific lab. It is just ripe with examples of the subject matter we are teaching. Explore it, manipulate it, and study it.”
Rosemary Tyson

Rosemary Tyson

  • School: Obsidian Middle School
  • Teaches: Mathematics
  • Grade Level: 6

“When staff, students, parents, and community members adopt an, “All in, can do: working together to make a difference” attitude, we can impact achievement for all students.”
Robert Fairchild

Robert Fairchild

  • School: Weston-McEwen High School
  • Teaches: Science & Math
  • Grade Level: 8-12

“If students are doing science they're learning science. Content's important, but devoid of the process, it's sterile, dry and dull. Science is about active not passive learning.”
Marcy Doyle

Marcy Doyle

  • School: Yaquina View Elementary School
  • Teaches: Elementary Education
  • Grade Level: 1

Oregon Teacher of the Year Finalist

“In a world of mixed messages, bias, mediocrity and selfishness, be a change agent. Instill the love of learning and above all else, love our children unconditionally.”
Rhonda Erstrom

Rhonda Erstrom

  • School: Vale Elementary School
  • Teaches: Elementary Education
  • Grade Level: 2

“As educators, it is our job to give our students a voice and a place for them to dream big. By doing so, we are helping to facilitate our own future.”
Tina Roberts

Tina Roberts

  • School: Gresham Barlow School District
  • Teaches: Language Arts & Literacy
  • Grade Level: High School

“I expect my students to do their best work every day, because every day, I'm doing my best work for them. My students believe in themselves because they know I believe in them.”
Naheed Brown

Naheed Brown

  • School: Mary Woodward Elementary
  • Teaches: Elementary Education
  • Grade Level: 1

“My motto always has been “Hands on, minds on, hearts on… learning.” Hence every lesson I teach, I am very aware of these criteria that guide the way I connect with students.”
Arlee Hall

Arlee Hall

  • School: Coquille Valley Elementary School
  • Teaches: Elementary Education
  • Grade Level: 3

“On a daily basis, teachers challenge students to develop 21st century learning skills by providing opportunities to collaborate, communicate, and create.”
Greg Bryant

Greg Bryant

  • School: North Medford High School
  • Teaches: Language Arts
  • Grade Level: 9

“When students know they can affect their community by applying what they learn in school, we know learning transcends the classroom.”
Amy Korst

Amy Korst

  • School: Willamina High School
  • Teaches: Language Arts
  • Grade Level: High School

Oregon Teacher of the Year Finalist

“I want every student to leave my classroom equipped to read news with the ability to think critically, recognize bias if one exists, and form opinions about the issue at hand.”

About Teacher of the Year

The Teacher of the Year program was created to recognize exemplary public school educators — Oregon teachers who inspire students and make a positive impact in the communities in which they live. The award celebrates knowledge, dedication, innovation and leadership. For 2020, exceptional teachers will be honored in up to 19 regions across the state, with Oregon’s Teacher of the Year selected from among our regional finalists.

How Nominations Work

1

Nominate a Teacher

Know a great teacher? Fill out the nomination form and tell us what makes them exceptional!

2

Teacher Applications

We notify qualifying nominees and invite them to apply for Teacher of the Year.

3

Regional Winner Selected

Each of Oregon’s 19 Education Service Districts review applications from their area and choose a winner for their region.

4

Statewide Winner Selected

Regional applications will be reviewed by a diverse panel of education advocates and finalists will be interviewed by department staff and recommended to the director for selection.

Nominations for 2020 have closed. Check back soon for 2021 nominations.

Nominations for 2020 have closed. Check back soon for 2021 nominations.

Oregon Lottery Participation

The Oregon Lottery is the proud presenter of Oregon’s Teacher of the Year as well as a valued partner of the Oregon Department of Education. Currently, 57% of Oregon Lottery profits go to Oregon’s Pre-K-Higher Education public schools to help pay teachers’ salaries, build and repair schools, purchase much needed textbooks, computers, equipment and support other essential services. From pre-kindergarten to state universities, from textbooks to teachers’ salaries, Lottery funds help support classrooms and the future stewards of Oregon.

Together, we learn good things

This biennium Oregon Lottery has contributed $535.7 million towards K-12 education. That's about $460 per student each year!

A Slew of Scholarships

In 2018, Oregon Lottery contributed $30 million to the Oregon Opportunity Grant which awards college scholarships to students across our state.