2008 OSSA Teacher of the Year - Mitch Coleman

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Mitch Coleman is an agriculture education teacher at Dayton High School, where he has taught for all 18 of his years in education. Coleman says that he had wanted to become a teacher “for as long as I can remember.” His inspiration to become a teacher stems from watching his grandmother teach the first grade in Idaho.

“I saw students learn new things when they didn’t even know they were learning,” Coleman says. “I loved seeing her teach and wanted to be a teacher like her when I grew up.”

After working on a ranch for six years, Coleman went back to school to become an agriculture teacher in an effort to bring his desire of teaching and his experiences of ranching together.

Coleman considers his greatest contribution to teaching is his enthusiasm for helping students to discover that education is good for everyone, and that if they believe in their own abilities, they can become a success.

“I believe every student can learn and that it is my job to find the way to make sure that they can learn sometimes when they don’t even want to,” Coleman says. “My teaching philosophy has always been modeled around the quote, ‘Tell me and I will forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand.’”

Coleman’s principal at Dayton High School, Roger Lorenzen, says that Coleman and his wife, Ann, have “positively impacted countless young people in the Dayton community and beyond.”

“You could find no better representative for this honor,” Lorenzen said. “Mitch is articulate, bright, and engaging. He would be a wonderful spokesperson for small schools because he is passionate about affording students the opportunities that come with the small school environment. He is the one who changes obstacles into opportunities – all for the betterment of students.”

Coleman has won numerous awards and accolades for his progress with students and successes in the classroom. He’s been the Yamhill County Soil and Water Conservation Teacher of the Year twice (2005 and 1995); the Oregon Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association (OVATA) Teacher of the Year twice (2002 and 1998); OVATA Young Agriculture Teacher of the Year (1995); received the OVATA Agriculture Program of the Year three times (2004, 2000 and 1997); and the Oregon Soil and Water Conservation Agriculture Teacher of the Year (1995).

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