A metaphor of my classroom is a dining table. There’s always a seat at the table, and whatever my student is hungry for, they’ll get.
Congratulations Ethelyn Tumalad, 2022 Oregon Teacher of the Year!
(Clackamas, Ore.) – In a surprise announcement during an early morning Zoom staff meeting on Wednesday, September 29, 2021, Clackamas High School (CHS) educator Ethelyn Tumalad was named and celebrated as Oregon’s 2022 Teacher of the Year! Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill and Deputy Director Carmen Xiomara Urbina virtually joined North Clackamas School District Superintendent Shay James and Clackamas High School Assistant Principal Alyssa Engle in honoring Tumalad as an exemplary educator, student advocate, and equity champion.
A video message from Governor Kate Brown was played during the announcement event, offering personalized congratulations and gratitude to Tumalad. “Inside and outside of the classroom, Ethelyn is a strong advocate, a wonderful listener, and an empathetic colleague, teacher and friend,” she stated in the video. “Educators like you are the shining stars our students need.”
Ethelyn Tumalad is a first generation immigrant who came to the Pacific Northwest from the Philippines with her family at the age of five. In her role as a Language Arts and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teacher, she leans into her identity as a Filipino woman and immigrant to support students in finding their own voices, recognizing the beauty of their diversity and being unapologetically themselves. Every student in Ms. Tumalad’s classroom learns to respect one another and see the strengths in each other’s differences. Tumalad serves as advisor for the CHS Asian Pacific Islander (API) Student Union, and co-leads the CHS Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) staff affinity group. She also leads in district affinity groups, as well as other state equity efforts.
“Ethelyn infuses her classroom with community, belonging and empathy – all critical components for ensuring students feel welcome and safe,” said Director Gill. “As this new school year begins and students work to make meaning of the challenging last 19 months, Ethelyn will serve as an outstanding model for Oregon educators who are working to support the social-emotional, mental and physical needs of their students.”
In a letter of recommendation, a former student described Tumalad as “hands down one of the best and most thoughtful teachers I have ever had.” They shared that Ms. Tumalad sees and treats each student that walks into her classroom like family, and looks for ways to change their lives for the better. “She is the reason many kids even came to school… and she taught me how to be myself in a world that’s constantly telling me to be something I’m not,” the letter continued.
“While I am an educator in the classroom and my content area is ELA and AVID, my identity as an API educator and educator of color grounds me in my work,” Tumalad said in her application. “I’ve seen the importance of having positive role models of color; therefore, it is important that students themselves see their advisors work together to build bridges among each other’s marginalized identities. As an educator who always wants to ensure that students become change agents in the classroom, I lead my students with empathy and truly believe that modeling is the best form of education.”
The Oregon Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the Oregon Department of Education in partnership with the Oregon Lottery. Tumalad was awarded as a Regional Teacher of the Year in May, and receives a $5,000 cash award as 2022 Oregon Teacher of the Year. A matching $5,000 is also awarded to Clackamas High School.
“The Oregon Lottery is proud to be part of the Oregon Teacher of the Year program,” said Oregon Lottery Director Barry Pack. “Ethelyn exemplifies what it takes to be an outstanding teacher and at the same time, cares deeply for each and every one of her students while serving as a role model for so many others. Thank you to Ethelyn, to the fifteen Regional Teachers of the Year and to educators across the state who work tirelessly to make a difference in students’ lives.”
The Oregon Teacher of the Year is selected after an extensive application process. Nominees from schools throughout Oregon submitted packets of information including testimonials and letters of support from administrators, students and colleagues. From the written material, applicants were assessed on leadership, instructional expertise, community involvement, understanding of educational issues, professional development and vision.
As the 2022 Oregon Teacher of the Year, Tumalad will serve as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers. She will also receive year-long professional development and networking with other state Teachers of the Year through the Chief Council of State School Officer’s (CCSSO) National Teacher of the Year program.
Do you know an outstanding teacher? Please nominate them for 2023 Oregon Teacher of the Year.
As an educator, Ethelyn works with students from diverse backgrounds both in her teaching role and as an advisor for Clackamas’ Asian Pacific Islander (API) Student Union. Within both of these roles, Ethelyn promotes equitable practices and works tirelessly to remove barriers to student success.
Matthew Utterback, former North Clackamas School District Superintendent
Finding a perspective that expands your worldview is a hallmark of Ethelyn’s work. She finds a way to expand every child’s world, meeting them where they are and guiding them to their own path forward.
Dawn Patrick, Clackamas High School Teacher
Irving Elementary School
“My mission is to create an environment where all students feel they belong. I will continue my efforts each day to be an educator who makes a difference for equity and social justice.”
Franklin High School
“While being an educator can be daunting, tiresome, and even frustrating--the great moments are what we live, breathe, and die for.”
Churchill High School
Know a great teacher? Fill out the nomination form and tell us what makes them exceptional!
We notify qualifying nominees and invite them to apply for Teacher of the Year.
Each of Oregon’s 19 Education Service Districts review applications from their area and choose a winner for their region.
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.