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On behalf of the Oregon Department of Education, Southern Oregon Education Service District (SOESD) is proud to announce the selection of Mr. Jordan Werner, Physical Education Teacher at Riverside Elementary School in Grants Pass, as a 2021 Oregon Regional Teacher of the Year. Werner is also the Grants Pass High School Assistant Track and Field Coach and the head football coach at South Middle School.  Mr. Werner will be honored virtually in the coming month and will be awarded a check for $500.00.

SOESD convened a virtual Blue Ribbon Panel made up of diverse and unbiased panel members who represented the geographic region of Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath counties. The panel, who reviewed seven applications from a larger set of nominations, found that Werner exemplified the following attributes:

  • a wellness focus that is grounded in research
  • is a leader in his school and district
  • work positively impacts students and families
  • has a message to share with Oregon educators that can inspire others
  • has the desire and ability to reach all students
  • applies the Oregon Equity Lens in his decision making and is culturally aware and relevant in his approaches to wellness
  • forges partnerships with the community to promote student wellness
  • has a non-traditional approach to physical education that focuses on lifetime wellness and the social/emotional and learning benefits that wellness promotes

The Oregon Teacher of the Year Program started in 1955, and is managed by the Oregon Department of Education.  Anyone can nominate a candidate for the recognition, but teachers may not nominate themselves.  Once selected, the Oregon Teacher of the Year is also a candidate to apply for the National Teacher of the Year recognition.  The selected teacher serves as the face and voice of exemplary educators across the state of Oregon, and engages and inspires other teachers and community leaders as a representative of the profession.

Oregon Department of Education chose in 2018-19 to expand the selection process for the nominees.  The goal of the expansion is to honor teachers in every region of the state.  Education Service Districts across Oregon reviewed applications submitted from their geographic region and facilitated a Blue Ribbon Panel and review process to identify winners in their regions.  Thirteen winners will go on to be considered for Oregon Teacher of the Year, which will be decided in September.

SOESD is proud of the amazing teachers in our three-county region, exemplified by Mr. Werner, who are focused on quality teaching, learning, and student achievement. 

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