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Patrick_Getchis_Photo.jpg
Patrick Getchis Awarded as a 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year Runner-up (Photo) - 11/16/20

The Oregon Department of Education, in partnership with the Oregon Lottery, is pleased to celebrate Wy‘east Middle School’s STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) teacher, Patrick Getchis, as a 2021 Teacher of the Year Runner-up, and award both Patrick and his school with a $2,000 cash prize.

"This year, due to distance learning and the transformation that happened in education, he is teaching math and science and the more traditional subjects, and even what he's doing there is extraordinary,” said Sarah Braman-Smith, principal of Wy‘east Middle School. “To step outside of the demanding world he was in and to quickly shift to this and be a support for his colleagues just speaks to how he truly is a Teacher of the Year. And it's not just this year, it extends to the moment I met him."

Getchis has been teaching at Wy‘east Middle School for 5 of his 15 total years in education and founded the Wy‘east Middle School Robotics program by writing grants and coordinating with mentors and coaches. Since then, Wy‘east has won three state robotics championships. Getchis also co-led additional STEM projects which have included a biodiesel reactor and solar cell phone chargers.

In the runner-up celebration, Getchis noted the importance of having spaces and outlets like the Wy‘east Middle School Robotics program to allow students to have access to hands-on learning. "I'd love to see more support for Makerspaces in schools throughout this state. 11-13 year old kids are the right target. They are either going to engage or not. It's a pretty decent platform to structure a window in their day where they can get their wiggles out and also tinker with engineering."

The pivotal role of teachers – and Getchis’ approach -- has become especially evident in these last several months as schools have transitioned to distance learning in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers have stepped up in countless, innovative ways to ensure students are safe, healthy and engaged to reach their full potential, making this a fitting opportunity to recognize the excellence of teachers throughout the state.

Anyone can nominate a teacher! If you know an outstanding educator nominate them today at OregonTeacheroftheYear.org.

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Oregon_Lottery_Logo.png
Mayra Pelayo Awarded as a 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year Runner-up (Photo) - 11/16/20

The Oregon Department of Education, in partnership with the Oregon Lottery, is pleased to celebrate Aiken Elementary Kindergarten teacher Mayra Pelayo as a 2021 Teacher of the Year Runner-up, and award both Mayra and her school with a $2,000 cash prize!

“She is a firecracker,” said Tobey Huddleston, principal of Aiken Elementary. “That’s one thing I appreciate about Mayra - her passion for kids. She believes in all of them. It’s not if they’ll do it, but when they’ll do it … She’s determined.”

Pelayo has been teaching at Aiken Elementary for 17 years and also received the Ontario School District Teacher of the Year Award in 2018. In May, Pelayo received recognition as Malheur’s 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year, taking home a $500 cash prize.

The committee who selects Oregon Teacher of the Year recipients said it is Pelayo’s passion and dedication that makes her an excellent connector with her students and sets her apart.

In her application, Pelayo said that making sure students feel important and have the support of adults is key for any successful teacher.

 “We need to start every day by letting them know how important they are to us adults, and that we are with them at all times, supporting them not only academically, but in everything they need,” Pelayo wrote. “It is important for us to be more intentional with our teaching and start teaching more emotional-social learning with cultural acceptance and respect for different ethnic and language backgrounds.”

The pivotal role of teachers – and Pelayo’s approach -- has become especially evident in these last several months as schools have transitioned to distance learning in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers have stepped up in countless, innovative ways to ensure students are safe, healthy and engaged to reach their full potential, making this a fitting opportunity to recognize the excellence of teachers throughout the state.

Anyone can nominate a teacher! If you know an outstanding educator nominate them today at OregonTeacheroftheYear.org.

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Photo_James_Jeffrey-West.jpg
James Jeffrey-West Awarded as a 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year Runner-up (Photo) - 11/16/20

The Oregon Department of Education, in partnership with the Oregon Lottery, is pleased to celebrate Madison High School teacher James Jeffrey-West as a 2021 Teacher of the Year Runner-up, and award both James and his school with a $2,000 cash prize!

“We are extremely fortunate to have you,” said Adam Skyles, principal of Madison High School to Jeffrey-West in the runner-up celebration. “Your impact on our school has gone well beyond just your classroom… You are extremely deserving of this honor.”

Jeffrey-West has been teaching advanced placement psychology, ethnic studies, U.S. history, modern world history, sheltered modern world history and speech and debate at Madison High School for 7 of his 22 total years of teaching. In May, Jeffrey-West received recognition as Multnomah’s 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year, taking home a $500 cash prize.

One student shared, “I really enjoy how he teaches. I feel so connected. Sometimes you don’t have that bond with your teacher. When I need to ask him something, he can give me advice. He has this joyful spirit that makes you, you know, want to listen to him.”

In his application, Jeffrey-West noted he strives to provide students a safe place to discuss world events, see themselves in the curriculum and have the support of adults.

“The heart of our [class] journey involves developing strong relationships that I can then leverage towards rigor, while tracking student learning closely and providing a huge array of scaffolds and supports,” Jeffrey-West wrote. “They also know that I am a good listener and can be a part of their journey towards accessing resources.”

The pivotal role of teachers – and Jeffrey-West’s approach -- has become especially evident in these last several months as schools have transitioned to distance learning in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers have stepped up in countless, innovative ways to ensure students are safe, healthy and engaged to reach their full potential, making this a fitting opportunity to recognize the excellence of teachers throughout the state.

Anyone can nominate a teacher! If you know an outstanding educator nominate them today at OregonTeacheroftheYear.org.