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Kate Fisher Hedeen, named top educator in Clackamas County region, in running for statewide award

Oregon City High School biology teacher Kate Fisher Hedeen was named Teacher of the Year for the Clackamas County region.

Oregon City High School's Kate Fisher HedeenWith the honor announced this week, Fisher Hedeen won a $500 cash prize and is in the running for the Oregon Teacher of the Year prize to be announced this fall. She has 20 years of teaching experience and has served as an adjunct professor at Lewis & Clark College.

"When we as educators question our biases and reflect on our practice in meaningful ways, we approach expertise and advance the potential of our youth," Fisher Hedeen said in her application.

Among her many activities and honors, Fisher Hedeen is a founding member of the OCHS leadership team, and a past recipient of the National Association of Biology Teachers' "Outstanding Biology Teacher for the State of Oregon" award. In a letter supporting Kate's nomination as Teacher of the Year, a former student who now a doctoral candidate at John's Hopkins University called her mentor "a phenomenal teacher" who "teaches with authenticity, enthusiasm, and compassion, and creates a classroom environment that elevates all students." Another letter from one of Kate's teaching colleagues noted, "She inspires so many kids to believe in themselves, to celebrate their differences, to identify strengths and build on them, and to love science learning." "We are delighted to celebrate Kate Fisher Hedeen as our Regional Teacher of the Year," said Jada Rupley, Clackamas Education Service District superintendent. "Many outstanding teachers from throughout Clackamas County were nominated for this honor. In reviewing the nominees, our selection panel was thoroughly impressed with Kate's range of advanced skills as an educator, mentor, leader and advocate for all students." "Kate Fisher Hedeen is one of the most accomplished and beloved teachers in our district," said Larry Didway, Oregon City School District superintendent. "For the past two decades, Kate's high standards, passion for helping all students thrive, and leadership by example have inspired everyone in Oregon City schools to aim higher. She is exactly the kind of teacher all parents want to entrust their children to, and we are thrilled she is receiving such well-deserved public recognition."

Oregon Department of Education officials said from the beginning of this global pandemic, teachers have stepped up in countless, innovative ways to ensure students are safe, healthy and engaged to reach their full potential.

"Oregon educators never cease to amaze me with their resilience, creativity and unwavering commitment to student success," said Colt Gill, director of the Oregon Department of Education.

Regional Teachers of the Year are nominated by students, colleagues, administrators, friends or family members for the award, and are selected by a diverse panel of regional representatives. Later this fall, one of the 15 Regional Teachers of the Year will be named the Oregon Teacher of the Year.

Thanks to the Oregon Department of Education's partnership with the Oregon Lottery, statewide Teacher of the Year will receive a $5,000 cash prize, with a matching $5,000 grant going to their school. Three finalists will receive $2,000 with a matching $2,000 going to their school.

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