PORTLAND, Ore. (5/28/14)--For one teacher's work helping students get on track to college, and another's efforts to inspire students to think critically and engage, a Portland, Ore.,-based credit union has named each the 2014 Educators of the Year and, for that honor, will make their mortgage payments for one school year.
OnPoint Community CU, with $3.3 billion in assets, announced last week that Elizabeth Lawson, a fifth-grade teacher from Vancouver, Wash., was named K-8 Educator of the Year, and Susan Bartley, a high school English teacher from Portland, was named 9-12 Educator of the Year.
The OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education recognizes teachers from Oregon and southwest Washington for their ability to foment creativity, inspire and positively impact students.
In addition to covering their mortgages for the next year, the credit union will donate $1,000 to each teacher's school to pay for various resources and supplies.
Four other finalists received $500 personally and $500 for their schools.
"Our annual OnPoint Prize award celebrates extraordinary teachers whose work sparks enthusiasm and passion in students and their parents," said Rob Stuart, OnPoint president/CEO. "This award is an opportunity to recognize the educators who make a difference in the lives of students and the communities where we live."
Bartley earned the award for her role in developing an Advanced Placement (AP) program at her school, which requires students to pledge to take at least four college-level courses, meet twice a month with a mentor and apply to at least three colleges (OregonLive.com May 26).
Enrollment in Bartley's AP class has climbed to 40% of students of color, special education students or English language learners, as a result of her focus on diversity and equity work.
Lawson, meanwhile, was recognized for fostering an environment of engaged students, which she built on the principles of mutual trust, empowerment and critical thinking.
Lawson works collaboratively with teachers, parents and students to create a community of lifelong learners, and has been called an inspirational leader among peers.