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Ron Antlitz, a special-education instructor at Alder Creek Middle School, receives $1,000 prize as part of honor.

An educator at the North Clackamas School District has won a countywide award for top teacher, the second time in two years that a teacher from the district has won the honor.COURTESY PHOTO: NCSD - Ron Antlitz, a special-education teacher at Alder Creek Middle School, is pictured between Clackamas ESD Superintendent Larry Didway and North Clackamas School District Superintendent Shay James.

Ron Antlitz, a special-education teacher at Alder Creek Middle School near Milwaukie, thought he was walking into a typical all-school assembly the afternoon of Sept. 15.

Instead, he was stunned to hear a surprise announcement: Clackamas Education Service District has named him Regional Teacher of the Year.

Clackamas High School's Ethelyn Tumalad was named Teacher of the Year for the state of Oregon after she won the Regional Teacher of the Year award in May 2021. Regional winners receive a $1,000 cash prize courtesy of the Oregon Lottery.

Antlitz has dedicated most of his 26-plus years of teaching to working with middle and high school students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. For the past 10 years, he has taught in the structured learning center at Alder Creek, where he developed a comprehensive program to help students overcome behavioral issues and make rapid academic progress.

He's helped advance more equitable practices in schools, such as restorative justice programs that replace traditional discipline approaches. Above all, he is known as a strong advocate for students, working tirelessly to meet the needs of the "whole child."COURTESY PHOTO: NCSD - Ron Antlitz is a special-education teacher at Alder Creek Middle School.

The parent who nominated Antlitz for Teacher of the Year honors shared heartwarming anecdotes about the turnaround she saw in her son, who entered middle school with serious challenges and ended up "exploding with success" thanks to Antlitz's commitment to supporting him.

"He is thriving, and it is almost all due to Mr. Antlitz and the way he leads his classroom and the relationships he builds with his students," she wrote. "He has helped my son tremendously to grow educationally, socially and emotionally."

More than 40 educators throughout Clackamas County were nominated for the 2023 award, the highest number of regional nominations in the state.

"We are thrilled to honor Ron as our Regional Teacher of the Year," said Larry Didway, Clackamas ESD superintendent. "Our selection panel was particularly impressed with Ron's career-long commitment to addressing the holistic needs of each of his students, and his strong advocacy for more equitable practices in education. He is an outstanding representative of the countless Clackamas County teachers who are making an immense difference in the lives of students every single day."

"We are so proud of Mr. Antlitz for this well-deserved recognition as one of Oregon's Regional Teachers of the Year," said North Clackamas School District Superintendent Shay James. "One of North Clackamas' core values is relationships, and Ron is a model for all of us when it comes to building strong bonds with his students. From attending students' extracurricular activities after-hours to creating brand-new, inclusive schoolwide programs that benefit all kids, Mr. Antlitz will do anything to make sure students feel welcome and safe in his classroom."COURTESY PHOTO: NCSD - Ron Antlitz, a special-education teacher at Alder Creek Middle School, accepts a $1,000 cash prize for winning the countywide Teacher of Year honor.

"Ron approaches his work with compassion and a deeply held belief that each of his students deserves a high-quality school experience that includes access to academics as well as positive peer interactions," said Kelli Rhea, Alder Creek Middle School principal. "His influence on parents is visible. They trust him and believe he has their child's best interests at heart.

"Ron is an influential teacher leader who we can all look up to and strive to be like. It is a joy to work alongside him and watch him do what he does best — care about students!"

Antlitz was one of 16 teachers chosen by education service districts throughout Oregon to receive this regional honor. A 2023 Oregon Teacher of the Year will be selected from among this group.

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