Tribute to Taunya Barnett as Educator of the Year at the 2014 Union County Chamber of Commerce Banquet February 21, 2014
La Grande School District Superintendent, Larry Glaze
It is with great pleasure that I present the Union County Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year Award. In my opinion, the individual selected for the award this year represents the very best in education: an educator who loves children and cares for their well being, an educator who is on the cutting edge, using proven instructional strategies to promote student learning, an educator that is respected and liked by her colleagues and an educator that has assumed leadership roles as a Professional Learning Community Trainer at the District, Regional, and State level. She has also spent time teaching EOU undergraduate education majors about the PLC Process.
Mike Gregory, recently retired Greenwood Principal, describes this teacher as, ...the key person in all the exceptional professional learning community work done at Greenwood School in recent years. This teacher has the respect of staff and cares deeply about kids and education and has been a leader in organizing field trips to OMSI for Greenwood children. According to Mike Gregory Greenwood School is about family and teamwork, it's an extremely strong staff overall and the teachers tend not to seek individual recognition. But on this staff this teacher is extremely deserving and a great representative of the good work being done at Greenwood School.
Current Greenwood Principal Brett Baxter had the following to say about this years educator of the year. She is a caring and empathetic teacher. She has recently been working with a student who struggles in school, working with parent and child to find solutions to behaviors that get in the way of learning. In doing this she has shown great empathy in a situation where some might let the natural frustration of working with a disruptive student get in the way of finding answers. This collaborative approach with a parent speaks volumes about her desire for a child who faces significant challenges in life to be successful in her classroom. She works tirelessly to find ways to approach each student and meet them where they are.
Tina Bowen an Instructional Assistant at Greenwood Elementary that has worked with our educator of the year has the following things to say about her, “ I’ve had the opportunity to witness her teaching skills throughout the last eight years. She goes above and beyond the curriculum that is expected, and teaches from the heart. She is passionate for her profession and is driven by the children that she works with. The love that she has for these students is beyond apparent in her daily interaction with them.
Parents Eric and Chris Yundt said the following about this year’s Educator of the Year, “What stands out in our minds was when she was teaching our son that first year was that she spearheaded his fifth grade field trip to not only the Oregon Coast, but the Portland Zoo and other educational and fun stops along the way. That was definitely a fun trip for us parents as well as for the kids. It was a growing experience for the kids and quite an adventure, especially for those students who were seeing the ocean for the first time. I am sure all her students remember that trip with fond memories.
The following testimony is from a former fifth grade student, Kole Stein(now 23 years old), “Mrs. ________ is a great teacher, who I was lucky enough to have teach me in 5th grade. She used different techniques and examples in the classroom to help me learn in another way if I didn’t comprehend the lesson. She made everything fun and was always willing to help any student. She truly made a difference in my life, and I’m sure she positively impacted the lives of many other students as well! She is a very upbeat, funny, and outgoing teacher who creates a close bond with her students. This makes learning a wonderful and entertaining experience for everyone involved. These qualities describe the epitome of a teacher.
And last but certainly not least a few comments from her TP (Teaching Partner) Jillian Chandler had the following things to say, “I love that Tauyna doesn’t just consider the present. She gives kids experiences that will help them throughout life. She opens their eyes to the world around them and makes kids realize that there is so much to explore and life’s possibilities are endless. She makes kids feel that they can do anything. They believe her because she whole heartily believes it herself.
Im so proud and so honored to be a small part of what Taunya has accomplished as an educator. I am lucky to have a teaching partner that brings so much to the table. I’ve got many, many years with my TP, to learn, grow, and become better.
So there you have it, testimonials from Principals, Instructional Assistants, parents, former students and her TP Jillian Chandler there really is not much more I can say because it has all been said so well by those who know her best.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor to introduce you all to this year’s Union County Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year Mrs. Taunya Barnett.