OSSA Announces 2019 Teacher of the Year

OSSA Announces 2019 Teacher of the Year

photo of Supt. Quaresma, Amber Doremus and Principal Vescio

The Oregon Small Schools Association (OSSA) is proud to announce Amber Doremus as its 2019 Teacher of the Year. Doremus is a sixth and seventh grade teacher at Weston Middle School in the Athena-Weston School District in eastern Oregon.

During her 15 years at the middle school, Doremus has taught math, reading, science, social studies, PE and health. She recently concentrated on math and science, including attending Professional Development trainings, often traveling long distances. An early proponent and implementer of the Eureka Math curriculum in the area, she watched countless online videos and webinars to hone her knowledge. Doremus also developed an honors math program in a blended sixth and seventh grade class to properly prepare high-level math students to take Algebra in the eighth grade. When the school’s science program was faltering, Doremus also got involved, participating in a Next Generation Science Standards Leadership Network, which meets three times a year in Pasco, Washington.

According to the nomination letter from Ann Vescio, Principal at Weston Middle School, “Amber’s leadership has been critical to reinvigorating science instruction. She works tirelessly with the other middle level science teacher, often on weekends or for hours after school, to organize hands-on science lessons, design note-booking strategies that promote critical thinking skills and develop a series of STEM lab experiences for all middle school students.”

In addition, Doremus teaches a section of sixth grade girls’ Physical Education and has developed a program focusing on goal setting, cardiovascular health, weight training and positive body image. In 2017, Doremus and the other PE teacher helped secure a $100,000 grant for a school fitness center geared toward youth, which benefits the entire community.

Described as a true school and district leader, Doremus also serves as Weston Middle School’s technology coordinator for grades 6-8, has designed and taught after-school technology classes for teachers and spearheaded efforts to purchase student technology.

Vescio points out that perhaps no single aspect of Doremus’ resume may be extraordinary, “but in executing so many ordinary tasks well in order to create for her students the same opportunities that exist in larger, more urban areas, Amber is truly extraordinary. Most importantly, her positive impact on students is enormous. Not because she excels in one area of teaching, but because she ensures excellent instruction and ample opportunity for her students one ordinary endeavor at a time,” Vescio wrote.

Michael Lasher, OSSA executive director, said OSSA is pleased to choose Doremus as the 2018 Teacher of the Year. “Recognizing a teacher like Amber Doremus, who is a clear leader in her district to improve instruction, think outside the box and increase student success, is very positive for our small schools. OSSA is proud to recognize one of the truly great teachers in Oregon,” Lasher said.

Doremus will receive her award on Saturday, November 10th at the OSSA event during the Oregon School Boards Association Annual Convention in Portland, Oregon.

PHOTO Caption:  From left, Athena-Weston SD Superintendent Laure Quaresma, Amber Doremus and Weston Middle School Principal Ann Vescio stand by a congratulatory banner.

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