Art students announced at an assembly on Thursday, May 16 that Molalla High School Art Teacher Alissa Tran has been named the Clackamas County Regional Teacher of the Year.
The crowd of students, teachers, staff and more erupted into shouts and applause almost before the announcement could be uttered.
Tran, through tears, took the opportunity to offer words of thanks.
"I really want to thank all of you," Tran said. "This award could go to any of the teachers in the school…My students—I really love you guys. Thank you so much."
With the honor, Tran receives a $500 award from the Oregon Lottery and is automatically considered to become the 2020 Oregon Teacher of the Year, which will be announced in September, according to a press release from the Oregon Department of Education.
Both Superintendent Tony Mann and MHS Principal Brad Berzinski spoke proudly and excitedly about the honor.
"I absolutely believe that this is the best high school in the county, the best school district in the county, and the fact that we get to be with the best of the best, Mrs. Tran, is such an honor," Mann said.
Berzinski echoed that idea.
"What an amazing school this is," he said. "Students and staff are doing just wonderful things in this building, and it's an honor, Mrs. Tran, to work with you. Congratulations."
Tran's award comes just after many of her art students have won awards of their own for their work featured at events such as the Clackamas Education Service District Art Show, the Oregon Potter's Association Showcase and the MHS art show.
Tran's student Maria Ignacio, after winning a $20,000 art scholarship, thanked but one person.
"I would want to say I'm very thankful for my art teacher, Mrs. Tran, for giving me endless opportunities and supporting me through my art career in high school," Ignacio said.
Each year, every state, U.S. territory, Washington DC and the Department of Defense Education Activity name a teacher of the year. Oregon's Teacher of the Year program expanded in 2018-19 to celebrate educators in every region.
"Recognizing these outstanding regional teachers is a privilege and their commitment to the calling of teaching deserves our thanks," said Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill.
The educators' applications were assessed on leadership, instructional expertise, community involvement, understanding of educational issues, professional development and vision by a diverse panel of regional representatives, according to ODE.
Tran is among 13 regional winners in Oregon who are now considered for Oregon Teacher of the Year.
Whoever is selected to be the Oregon Teacher of the Year will serve as the face and voice of educators across the state, per the Oregon Teacher of the Year website. The teacher will present at workshops, speak at conferences and meetings and more. They will receive an award of $5,000 plus $5,000 for their school.
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