OSSA Selects 2017 Teacher of the Year

Release Date: 
09/08/2017

November 15, 2016

Harrisburg, OR - The Oregon Small Schools Association (OSSA) is proud to announce Tessi Sims as their 2017 Teacher of the Year. Sims is a teacher in the Harrisburg School District, located about 24 miles north of Eugene.

Sims teaches at Harrisburg Elementary School. In a letter nominating Sims for the award, Carol O’Connor, the principal at the elementary school, described Sims as highly organized and an adept planner, with no wasted time in her classroom. O’Connor said Sims effectively motivates her students and fosters an atmosphere of trust and respect. “She demonstrates a sincere interest in her students and expresses a serious concern for each and every one of them. Year after year, the students in her classroom show tremendous improvement, not just in reading, writing and math, but socially and emotionally as well,” O’Connor stated.

According to her principal, Sims is a respected member of the staff and a mentor to other teachers in the building, always enthusiastic and looking for new ideas to share with her colleagues. Sims is very involved at the school, currently serving on the School Wide Improvement Plan Committee, Pro-Social Committee, Report Card Committee and the Back-to-School Committee.

“She is an inspiration to the teaching field and will be an outstanding representative for this year’s Small Schools Teacher of the Year,” said O’Connor.

Michael Lasher, OSSA executive director, said that OSSA is always pleased to honor teachers in small school districts. “Tessi Sims’ highly effective teaching and her dedication to the students of the Harrisburg School District are outstanding examples of what small district teachers do throughout Oregon to give their students the best education. OSSA is proud to recognize one of the truly great teachers in Oregon,” Lasher said.
Sims received her Teacher of the Year Award on November 12, 2016, at the Oregon Small Schools Association event during the Oregon School Boards Association Annual Convention in Portland, Oregon. “I cannot express how honored I feel to be recognized for a job that I absolutely love! It is rare that a person gets to anxiously wake up each morning eager to go to work. As a teacher, every day is filled with excitement and an underlying sense of fulfillment. I sincerely feel that this award belongs to all teachers who see this career not as a job, but as a calling to love and educate students,” Sims said.

The community of Harrisburg is located about 24 miles north of Eugene and has a population of 3600 people. The Harrisburg School District has 904 students and includes one elementary school, one middle school and one high school.

The purpose of the OSSA Teacher of the Year Award is to recognize the dedication and contributions of teachers that serve small districts. Some of the criteria include: instructional accomplishments, leadership in the classroom, school, and district; innovation in the classroom; and school implementation of innovative or best practice models for teaching and learning. K-12 teachers in an OSSA member school district are eligible.