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Congratulations, Zandra Jansma!

In a surprise announcement event, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Director Colt Gill joined Three Rivers School District Superintendent David Valenzuela and Southern Oregon Success Academy (SOSA) Principal Mike Herzog in honoring Zandra Jansma as Oregon’s 2023 Education Support Professional of the Year!

Zandra Jansma is the Office Manager (and so much more) at the Southern Oregon Success Academy.

“The amazing work Zandra does for students and staff on a daily basis is truly inspiring,” said Governor Tina Kotek. “Her continued efforts to go above and beyond to develop personal connections with students is what turns a school into a community. My vision is for Oregon to be a place where every child has a safe place to receive a high-quality education. We can achieve that vision if we have more people like Zandra in our schools.”

“Zandra Jansma is one of the hardest working, most caring and dedicated members of the Three Rivers School District family. She has not only been an integral part of the success of SOSA over the years, but she has also been an integral part of so many students’ lives, seeing many to the goal of graduation,” said Superintendent David Valenzuela. “Southern Oregon Success Academy serves the greatest population of at-risk youth in the Three Rivers School District if not all of Josephine County. I cannot think of anyone better suited to support this school or this population of students, and more deserving of this award. Congratulations Zandra!”

“Zandra prioritizes connections with students in all aspects of her work, from finding the resources they need to providing emotional support and understanding,” said Colt Gill, Director of Oregon Department of Education. “Our schools are communities – and as we all know, it is not just the teachers and administrators, but all of the education support professionals who each play a critical role to ensure the school day flows smoothly and safely for students.”

Thanks to ODE’s partnership with the Oregon Lottery, Zandra received an award of $5,000 and a commemorative plaque. A matching plaque and banner were awarded to Southern Oregon Success Academy to mark Zandra’s achievements and her impact in the Three Rivers community.

“We’re proud to support Zandra’s work in the Three Rivers School District and her impressive commitment to serving students with care and understanding,” said Oregon Lottery Interim Director Mike Wells. “As her nomination illustrates, Zandra is making a difference as a school role model, working tirelessly to guide and love students affected by homelessness, poverty, and other challenges. Congratulations, Zandra.”

Previous Winners

Profile photo of Ethelyn Tumalad

Ethelyn Tumalad

Clackamas High School



Ethelyn Tumalad

Ethelyn Tumalad

  • School: Clackamas High School
  • Teaches: English Language Arts
  • Grade Level: 10-11

“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.”
Profile photo of Nicole Butler-Hooton

Nicole Butler-Hooton

Irving Elementary School



Nicole Butler-Hooton

Nicole Butler-Hooton

  • School: Irving Elementary School
  • Teaches: All Subjects
  • Grade Level: Grade 2

“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.”
Profile photo of Mercedes Muñoz

Mercedes Muñoz

Franklin High School



Mercedes Muñoz

Mercedes Muñoz

  • School: Franklin High School
  • Teaches: Special Education
  • Grade Level: 11-12

“While being an educator can be daunting, tiresome, and even frustrating--the great moments are what we live, breathe, and die for.”

How Nominations Work

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Nominate a Teacher

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

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Teacher of the Year Applications

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

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Regional Teachers of the Year Selected

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

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Oregon Teacher of the Year Selected

Finalists are chosen from among the regional winners, and then the designated candidate will be recommended to the Director of the Oregon Department of Education as the next Oregon Teacher of the Year.

Nominations for 2024-25 have closed! Check back in the fall when we announce the Regional Teachers of the Year!