A big surprise was announced during a Zoom staff meeting Tuesday afternoon. Irving teacher Nicole Butler-Hooton has been named Oregon’s 2021 Teacher of the Year.
Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill surprised everyone by joining the Irving staff meeting to make the announcement.
Nicole is being recognized for her close connection with students, families and the school community while centering equity and cultural competency in her teaching.
Raised in a minority family in Reedsport, Nicole is a Siletz and Apache tribal member committed to the values of family, friendship, community, and growth, both in and outside of her classroom.
Now in her 15th year of teaching second grade at Irving, Nicole receives a $5,000 cash award and will represent Oregon for consideration as National Teacher of the Year. Irving also receives a matching $5,000 award.
Nicole will serve as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers during this school year. She will also receive year-long professional development and networking with other state Teachers of the Year.
Nicole is the first Bethel educator to receive this award, but not the first who is deserving of the recognition.