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The Oregon Department of Education and Oregon State Lottery partner to recognize the incredible efforts and impact of Education Support Professionals in Oregon.

(Merlin, OR.) – In a surprise announcement event today, 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!

Photographs of the event will be added to this folder as they become available.

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.”

Program History

Oregon’s Education Support Professional of the Year Program results from House Bill 2964, passed by the Oregon Legislature in May of 2019. This bill directed ODE and Oregon Lottery to design and implement a program to honor an Oregon education support professional serving students in any grade from prekindergarten through grade 12. ESPs work with teachers and administrators in Oregon public schools to perform a variety of jobs promoting quality education, fostering positive learning environments, offering nutritious meals, providing reliable transportation, maintaining safe and clean schools for students and so much more. Educators nominated for Education Support Professional of the Year are employed by an Oregon public K-12 school or school district and meet the definition of an ESP in Oregon. Nominations for 2024 will open again soon on the Education Support Professional website. Be sure to nominate the life-changing ESPs in your school!

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