Media Room


Governor Kate Brown
Oregon Teacher of the Year Announcement
September 18, 2018

Thank you, Superintendent Balderas, for that kind introduction. It’s wonderful to be back at Churchill.

How’s the new school year going so far?

I love back to school. In these halls I see an enormous feeling of possibility and opportunity.

And no, it’s not about fresh pencils and new, blank notebooks. It is the possibility and opportunity that resides in each of you.

I want you to carry that sense of possibility and opportunity all through the school year, and for the rest of your lives. I want you to feel it as you start your jobs and careers.

What do you want to do after you finish school?

Those are all incredible dreams. They’re very different, but they all start in one place.

The classroom.

The work you do today, tomorrow, and every day for the next four years, makes everything else you want to do in your life possible.

Education gives you the tools to connect to the power of your own potential, and create the future you want to see.

We need to give you the tools to match your determination and hard work. And when we come together to do that, we’re seeing positive changes.

But I think we can do more. I want every single person here to cross the high school graduation stage with a clear path for your future.

There are 1,110 of you here today. You have 1,110 different families, friends, homes, and experiences that shape who you are.

To make sure that all 1,110 of you cross that graduation stage, we have to make sure that even with all of those differences, you’re each getting what you need individually to succeed.

A 180 day school year, so that you’re on track with students around the country. We need to create environments where you feel safe.

Making sure that when you’re here, you can focus on learning. We need lessons that are relevant and engaging to you, that reflect and speak to the diverse backgrounds you all bring here.

Like great teachers, and being able to spend more time with them.

Speaking of teachers, I believe there is one more special guest here today to talk to you especially about Oregon’s outstanding educators.

I’d like to welcome the Director of the Oregon Department of Education, Colt Gill, to join me at the podium. Colt?

Thank you, Colt. It’s my pleasure and my honor to announce this year’s Teacher of the Year award.

This teacher focuses on the hands-on learning that I want all students in Oregon to have. She has dedicated herself to helping students make the connection between classroom and career.

Ms. Keri Pilgrim-Ricker is Oregon’s Teacher of the Year for 2019.

Ms. Ricker, will you join us onstage?

I had the pleasure of spending some time in Ms. Ricker’s classroom during my last visit to Churchill, and I was blown away by her knowledge, dedication, and innovative
approach to instruction.

Now, we are replicating the kinds of techniques she uses everyday across the whole state with my Future Ready Oregon initiative.

Ms. Ricker, thank you for leading the way for Oregon’s schools.

Ms. Ricker, would you like to say a few words?