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Distinguished Educator 2012-2013

December 2012 - Ruth Wagner


Today Ruth Wagner, 1st grade teacher at Lyle Elementary was presented the Distinguished Educator Award in her classroom. She was extremely surprised and couldn’t help but ask her husband John why he hadn’t told her. Given it was pajama day at Lyle, we were just pleased Mrs. Wagner was not wearing pajamas!

Her nominator was Elizabeth Blake, mom of two students that she taught and currently a colleague at Lyle.


Here are some of the comments she shared in her nomination of Ruth:

  • She is well-known for enhancing the learning environment for her students by offering a variety of activities that students love.

  • She goes above and beyond to do what is best for students.

  • She successfully recruits and parents and community members to volunteer in her classroom helping to run small group activities.

  • She is dedicated to student success and giving students the opportunity to shine within small groups.

  • She is a colleague who would happily purchase any materials she finds that she thinks will help even one child.

  • She gives of her own time and money to further the education of students in this community.

Here is what her 1ST grade students had to say about her:

  • She makes good jokes!

  • She’s a really good teacher

  • She teaches well

  • She has beautiful hair

  • She is really good with reading groups

  • She is thirsty*


*Another staff member gave me the background to this story as I was leaving Lyle. There is a young lady in Mrs. Wagner’s class who is extremely active and busy. One strategy Ruth put into place for her was to strategically have large water bottles in various locations nearby for this student to go retrieve when she was especially having trouble sitting still. This would allow the student to expend a bit of energy and come back ready to learn! She is amazed at how “thirsty” Mrs. Wagner is.



January 2013 - Gretchen Schmoyer


Yesterday, Gretchen Schmoyer, 4th  grade teacher at Whitworth Elementary was presented the Distinguished Educator Award in her classroom.

Her nominators include two students (current and former) and their grandmother, and colleagues at Whitworth. Here are some of the comments shared in their nomination of Gretchen:

  • She is very skilled at challenging and assuring the success of all kinds of learners.

  • She has an outstanding ability to differentiate instruction and make learning fun for all of her students.

  • She makes learning fun, she should get this award because most people don’t realize her greatness (student).

  • I really like the way she teaches science (student).

  • Comments from colleagues: I LOVE working with Mrs. Schmoyer. She is always positive in her work and willing to help other staff members or students.

  • She is very organized and has a smile any part of the day.

  • She is the leader of our 4th grade team. She is hard-working, consistent,

  • She is a very dedicated teacher and I’m delighted to have her as a colleague.

Here is what her 4th  grade students had to say about her:

  • She is nice to us but makes us work hard

  • She helps us learn

  • She lets us make up work so we understand what we are learning

  • She makes learning fun

  • Best teacher ever!

  • She is fair with all her students


Please join us in congratulating Gretchen!  She is another one of our outstanding educators.



February 2013 - Shannon Ritter


Today Shannon Ritter, Language Arts teacher at Dallas High School was presented the Distinguished Educator Award in his classroom.  See a picture of the presentation on facebook:!/DallasSchoolDistrict

His nominator was Daniele Peterson, one of his students. Here are some of the comments she shared in her nomination of Shannon:

  • Mr. Ritter has so much passion and love for his classes that one cannot resist the class.

  • As a teacher, he has gone above and beyond to help me achieve my goals.

  • He takes teaching to another level, to make sure his students understand.

  • He doesn’t just lecture in his class, but students interact and learn with his guidance.

  • He is one of the hardest teachers I have ever encountered.

  • He doesn’t allow you to fail as long as you try.

  • He is not only an outstanding teacher, but an outstanding person who believes in each one of his students.

  • Mr. Ritter is by far the most inspirational teacher I’ve ever had and he deserves this award.


Here is what other students in his class had to say about him (condensed version J): 

  • Ritter listens to your views and gives you a perspective that may be different than yours.

  • He gives us a point of view to view the subject.

  • I have had him for nearly every semester since he has been here and is the best teacher I have had.

  • He is personal with every student, sits down with each student, holds students to a high standard and wouldn't let me fail.

  • He is a great teacher.

  • Most of my classes seem normal, but I look forward to this class every day.

  • His passion for the subject makes me passionate for the subject.

  • He never lets a student slide by, he helps every student achieve at the highest level.


Please join us in congratulating Shannon Ritter!  His high school students had great things to say about his passion for teaching, his passion for the content and most importantly his passion for his students!




March 2013 - Ken Guffey


Last Friday Ken Guffey, Science teacher at LaCreole Middle School was presented the Distinguished Educator Award in a school-wide assembly.

His nominator was Nick Nelson, one of his students. Here are some of the comments he shared in his nomination of Ken:

  • Mr. Guffey is one of the best teachers I have ever had.

  • He explains why the subject is important, why it affects you in real life or in the future.

  • He is always trying to find better ways to teach us and he asks our opinion about what helps us learn.

  • He makes sure nobody falls behind.

  • He is full of energy.

  • Some people say he is loud, but I think he is like that to keep everyone awake!

  • He wants us to eat healthy and work to be strong.

Here is what other students at LaCreole had to say about him: 

  • He has the best personality.

  • He is a great teacher and he does fun things.

  • He teaches us what we need to learn and helps us when we need it.

  • He is funny and weird like me.

  • He is strict when needed and plans fun activities.

  • He treats everyone with respect.                                                                                                                                                                               Please join us in congratulating Ken!


April 2013 - Judy Stuck


Today Judy Stuck, teacher at Morrison Alternative School, was presented the Distinguished Educator Award in a school-wide gathering.

Her nominators were Cameron Steptoe and Scott Autry, two of her students. Here are some of the comments they shared in their nomination of Judy:

  • She has helped me progress from no plan to graduate to a plan where I will graduate.

  • She is always eager to help and answer questions.

  • I see her helping all students, keeping them on track and meeting their individual needs.

  • She deserves this award not only for her outstanding teaching ability, but for her desire to have all of us reach our highest potential.

  • When I came to this school, I didn’t know a thing about writing or grammar, but with Ms. Stuck’s help, I have passed the Oregon State Reading Test for high school and am close to passing the writing test.

  • Besides being a wonderful teacher, she is also a good person.

  • She always has a smile on her face and never lets you leave her classroom unless you have one tool


Here is what other students at Morrison had to say about her: 

  • Ms. Stuck cares about her students like they are her own children.

  • She helps us achieve what we thought was impossible.

  • Ms. Stuck is my favorite teacher.

  • She takes her job so much further than most teachers.

  • She does so much for everyone.

  • I get support in and out of school.

  • Before I was in Ms. Stuck's room I didn't think I would ever have a chance.


Please join us in congratulating Judy!



May 2013 - Tyler Lalack


Last evening at the board meeting, Tyler Lalack, special education teacher in the New Options Program at Dallas High School which is designed for students who have unique social, behavioral, and emotional needs, was presented the Distinguished Educator Award.

His nominator was Autymn Galbraith, Special Education Director for Dallas School District. Here are some of the comments she shared in her nomination of Tyler:

  • He is an excellent teacher, a role model for students and a staff “go to” person among his colleagues.

  • He is a natural coach and leader.

  • He has the ability to make a connection when others cannot.

  • He treats others as he would want to be treated.

  • He listens at all times and is willing to problem solve any situation.

  • He always has the best interest of his students at hand and will be their voice when they do not feel they have a voice.

  • Tyler’s students trust and respect him because he shows them trust and respect.

  • He spends countless hours in individualized instruction to push students to their potential.


Tyler works with a variety of specialists, here are a few things they say about him:

  • I appreciate Tyler’s work ethic and his willingness to look at situations from another person’s perspective.

  • He enjoys each student’s uniqueness and makes an effort to help each student find success.

  • He works with a very challenging population of kids, because of his open-mindedness, patience, and willingness to explore untraditional ways of handling crisis situations, he is respected by students, staff, and parents he works with.


Here are what his students had to say about him:

  • He talks to us at our level and makes things fun, but he knows when to get serious, to get work done.

  • He has a good sense of humor.

  • He is good, awesome, and I like to hang out with him.

  • He makes sure you are on track and working, but also has a great sense of humor that makes working way less bland.

  • He is always there to help when I need it.

  • He is not judgmental and he is fair.


Please join us in congratulating Tyler!



June 2013 - Tim Ray


Friday evening Tim Ray, Vocational Agriculture teacher/FFA Advisor at Dallas High School, was presented the Distinguished Educator Award at the annual Distinguished Educator Gala held at Eola Hills Winery.

His nominator was Michael Blanchard, a member of Dallas School Board. Here are some of the comments he shared in his nomination of Tim:

  • He is a true exemplar of excellence in teaching and learning.

  • His nomination is in recognition of both the impact he has had upon individual students in his classroom, and to highlight the leadership he has provided to our district and beyond.

  • He has provided leadership to the Achievement Compact Committee and helped to make substantial progress to how we organize and work together for student success and improvement.

  • He has reached out at state, regional, and national levels to mentor student teachers.

  • Past-president of Oregon Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association.

  • Three years as a CASE (Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education) Master Teacher and conducts professional development for teachers across the country.

At the beginning of this school year, Tim stood before the entire staff of the district and made the observation that our education system is going through profound changes, and we have a choice to “drive the bus, ride on the bus – or end up under the bus”.


A 2012 grad , Brett Lynn had this to say about his experience with Mr. Ray:


  • Mr. Ray constantly goes beyond the call of duty to ensure the success of his students.

  • His example of leadership truly does inspire those who come into contact with him.

  • He inspires me to not only improve myself, but to do something for others in the process.

  • His greatest impact is found in seeing the strength that every student has within them and pushing them to go beyond the status quo

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