Monument School teacher Michele Engle said she was honored and excited to learn she is one of 13 people in Oregon named as Regional Teacher of the Year.
“It really makes you feel good that people notice how hard you’re working at trying to make children successful,” she said. “I’ve taken on some pretty hard tasks. ... It fuels your motivation to continue doing what you’re doing.”
Engle, who was born and raised in Monument, has taught at Monument School District for 23 years with one year at Dayville School prior to that.
She teaches English for grades 7-12, as well as courses in welding and agriculture, which includes wood shop, and a leadership class.
Grant County Education Service District Superintendent Robert Waltenburg presented Engle with the award, and a check from the Oregon Lottery for $500, at a school assembly with Monument’s interim Superintendent/principal Michael Lane present.
“I have seen many teachers in my time in Grant County, but few show the dedication, the love, the commitment to kids, school and community that Michele has shown,” Waltenburg said. “These are some of the reasons that she was selected as the 2019 Regional Teacher of the Year for the Eastern Region.”
He added, “As she moves into the next level of the competition, ... I believe that she will win this award as well and be named the 2019 Oregon State Teacher of the Year.”
Oregon Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Colt Gill stated in a letter to school officials that he was pleased they were able to expand the program to recognize dedicated educators across the state, and to raise awareness of best practices.
“These teachers, their schools and districts should be very proud of the innovation and collaboration that helps deliver students a well-rounded education,” he said.
Along with her classroom teaching, Engle is also the middle school advisor. She recently returned from a field trip to the coast with the eighth-grade class.
In her first 18 years in the field of education, she mainly taught fourth- through sixth-grades, then third through sixth. She also received a science teaching certificate.
“I was fortunate when I grew up here to have a wonderful science teacher,” she said. “I love this school — it’s in my heart.”
She took on a welding class this year and, having no prior experience, learned alongside the students with professional welders sharing their expertise in their classroom.
Engle said it’s important for teachers to keep their love of learning alive.
“When you learn new things, there is an excitement there,” she said. “When you love learning, the kids respond to that, and then they love what you’re sharing with them.”
She said, while she encourages higher education, she realizes it is not for every child. However, by instilling a good work ethic and knowledge, “they can truly go on and be successful.”
Engle said she wants to encourage teachers to view each student as an individual.
“If they’re being successful in their own personal progress, then you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing,” she said. “We often forget that the goal is to make each child feel successful.
“The best part of my job is seeing a child smile when they are proud of themselves and knowing that I helped them feel that way.”