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Wes Crawford Named Douglas ESD’s Regional Teacher of the Year

5:02 PM · May 20, 2021

The critical role of teachers has become especially evident as schools have responded to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers have stepped up in countless, innovative ways to ensure students are safe, healthy and engaged to reach their full potential, making this a fitting opportunity to recognize the excellence our Regional Teacher of Year. Sutherlin High School’s teacher, Wes Crawford was named Douglas Education Service District’s 2022 Regional Teacher of the Year! Crawford wins a $500 cash prize and is in the running for Oregon’s 2022 Teacher of the Year – to be announced this fall. This morning, school administrators surprised Crawford with a small awards ceremony at Sutherlin High School. “Wes Crawford is a deserving recipient,” says Marty Gary, Sutherlin High School principal. “He continuously goes the extra mile to help his students to be successful. He manages a wide-ranging curriculum as our agriculture teacher and puts in many extra hours to ensure that he is providing stimulating lessons for his students. In addition, he cares enough about Sutherlin High School to help manage extra needs as he leads by example, assisting his fellow teachers with online instructional issues and for the good of the order tasks.” Sutherlin’s School District Superintendent, Terry Prestianni adds, “On behalf of the entire Sutherlin School District we are extremely proud of Wes Crawford. He is a deserving recipient of Teacher of the Year as demonstrated by his sincere commitment to helping students thrive and prepare for their futures.” Regional Teachers of the Year are nominated by students, colleagues, administrators, friends or family members to apply for the award and are selected by a diverse panel of regional representatives. Deborah Price, Douglas ESD’s Education Services Coordinator nominated Crawford from the perspective of a parent and colleague and says he is a catalyst for positive change. “Mr. Crawford engages students on many levels, from academics to tractor driving, he is all in,” says Price. “His vision expands opportunity and draws students closer to their potential. He creates real life learning experiences that build knowledge and community. Crawford has been interested and engaged in the development of youth for nearly 20 years. What started in youth leadership development facilitation in college has led to 14 years and counting as the Agricultural Science & Technology (AST) teacher and Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor at Sutherlin High School. In this time, he has been on a continual mission to expand the capacity and ability of the program to create real experiential learning opportunities. This has included significant growth in student participation in the school’s AST program with opportunities for students to engage in hands-on community projects. He was the lead grant writer for an awarded Career & Technical Education (CTE)Revitalization Grant, which brought together industry and community partners to expand and modernize facilities. In addition, he serves on agricultural professional organizations connected to leadership and mentorship. One of the most important things Crawford believes he can do for students is to lead by example. As a former student in Sutherlin schools himself, the life lessons he has gained from experiences around the nation and world will hopefully expand the views and perspectives of students from this rural area of what is possible. Additionally, Crawford offers support to other teachers as well. Last year when he hosted the first virtual Oregon Agriculture Teacher’s Association (OATA) hangout– and 90 agriculture teachers showed up (there are only approximately 130 in the state of Oregon), he didn’t know the initial online gathering would lead to a monthly support group. “As a parent, teacher and community member, it is clear the vital and dynamic role our schools and teachers fulfill in the lives of our students and in our community,” says Crawford. “It is so evident how important this has been and will continue to be a critical influence in the success of our communities; futures. Our schools will nurture, support, elevate and prioritize the lives and needs of young people. They will be one of the most important influences of what it will look like for a community to thrive over time . . . As the hills we climb get steeper, it is again no more important of a time to be a teacher.” Thanks to the Oregon Department of Education’s partnership with the Oregon Lottery, the 2022 Oregon Teacher of the Year will receive a $5,000 cash prize (with a matching $5,000 going to their school!) and serve as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers. Three finalists will receive $2,000 with a matching $2,000 going to their school. Please visit OregonTeacheroftheYear.org for more information. Via Douglas ESD

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