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Awards will be presented to our Awardees at the 2023 Conference held at 

Gresham High School, Gresham, Oregon

Saturday, October 14th

Please join us in celebrating our colleagues and everyone's commitment to science education.

We are very proud to have these educators as members of the Oregon Science Teachers Association.

2023 OSTA Outstanding Teaching Awardees

One of the most important functions of the Oregon Science Teachers Association is to recognize outstanding science educators across the state.  Each year the OSTA Executive Board selects several individuals for statewide and regional awards.  The Awardees are selected by committee from individuals nominated by members of OSTA.

Statewide Awards

Duane Marshall Special Service to Science Education Award

Duane Marshall was an outstanding career teacher from Newberg High School, active in OSTA, and an important contributor to science education in Oregon. This award in his name in intended to honor those individuals who, as classroom teachers, have made significant contributions to science teaching in their own classrooms and beyond. The awardee was selected based on career longevity and body of work, statewide and regional influence, enthusiasm for science, and the ability to motivate students and colleagues alike.

Paul Hampton Beaverton School Dstrict Beaverton

Paul has been with BSD for 10 years, but prior to that he was an educator in Medford. In Medford he worked closely with marginalized students to improve their access to science education. He taught a range of courses from beginning chemistry to AP chemistry. When he moved to BSD he was actively pursuing his doctorate. When asked about his plans after receiving his doctorate, he indicated that he intended to stay in the classroom. At BSD he was active in our science department and school environment, again working to improve science education for our most marginalized students. He started our first homework club, complete with snacks and bus tickets, and attended twice a week to tutor kids. Also Paul was instrumental in developing a summer school course called "8.5", which is a bridge course between 8th and 9th grade. He developed and taught the course for 6 consecutive years and requested that these students continue on in his advisory courses so that he could track their progress. During COVID, Paul took a job as the science lead for secondary instruction. He has worked to implement new middle school curriculum and continue to support teachers in the use of the Patterns curriculum, effectively supporting hundreds of middle and high school science students. He is a member of the coordinating council for the Portland Metro STEM Partnership.

Fred Fox Distinguished Service to Science Education Award

This award is named in honor of Fred Fox, a distinguished and well-loved teacher educator from Oregon State university (1957-82). The award is intended to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to mentoring and developing new teachers. It is intended for nominees involved in teacher training programs at the college level, ESD, district administrators or other administrative positions. The awardee is selected based on career longevity, breadth of influence, enthusiasm for science and the profession of science education, and the demonstrated ability to motivate.

Laura Gemignani

OSU Cascades & Bend-LaPine School District


Laura has been working for OSU cascades for years to invest and raise this next generation of science teachers. She teachers pedagogy and assessment courses at OSU Cascade. She mentors and help other teachers working on achieving their National Boards at our district. She has had over 15 student teachers that over half now work in our surrounding districts. She has given so much to our generation of teachers.

The Sunrise Scholarship

The Sunrise Scholarship Award was established by long-time OSTA Board Member, Lynn Mitchell.  Lynn was a science teacher at Hood River High school, and spent many years on the OSTA board in a number of capacities.  His vision for this scholarship was to support early career teachers to get involved with their professional organization, take advantage of the resources available through being a member, and setting the stage for the next generation of science leaders in OSTA. The Sunrise Scholarship is used to pay registration to attend the next two (2) OSTA Statewide Conferences, and a 2-year membership in OSTA.

Kiana Pigao

Newberg High School

Newberg School District

Kiana has been a great leader, even as a newer teacher, in our science department. She has created excitement for dual credit classes, and has pioneered new technologies, including virtual reality, in our anatomy and physiology classes. She has also established a highly popular Intro to Medical Sciences classes that is bringing awareness of degrees in health care that many students are now considering because of her work.

Cierra Tigard

Culver Middle School

Culver School District

Cierra Tigard is a 7th and 8th grade science teacher who conducts many hands on experiments with her students. She teaches STEM lessons and created her own curriculum that covers physical, chemical, and earth sciences. She is energetic and brings excitement to her school. She is passionate about her love for science and she shares that passion with her students. She also uses Project Based Learning in her classroom. She is the perfect candidate to receive this award.

The NGSS Team Award

As Dr. Okhee Lee said, NGSS implementation is a relay, and the strongest runners - the classroom teachers - take the baton over the finish line. OSTA has created the NGSS Team Award to honor the incredible teamwork happening at schools and districts statewide. This award will be given to a team of K-12 teachers who are sharing the work of implementing NGSS-aligned curriculum and assessment at their school or in their district. 

Toby Pierce

Stephanie Pearl

Alyssa Vavursa

Jackie Hellis

Elena Miranda

Creston Elementary, 

Portland Public Schools


This Creston team has been participating is a statewide grant to lead schoolwide STEAM Transformation throughout the Pandemic. Since 2019, and likely even before, they have been engaging in hundreds of hours of professional development related to the NGSS, STEAM teaching, STEAM learning, and leadership K-5. They always keep their students interests, lives, and lived experiences at the center of their efforts. They are leveraging the Arts as a way to explore, investigate, and integrate all areas of STEAM, and other subject areas together. Through the ups and downs over the last half decade this team of educators have pushed forward hands-on, student centered learning, for their students.

Regional Awards

These awards are meant to recognize and honor the work of outstanding classroom teachers in the categories of Early Career, Elementary, Middle, and High School.  From every region in Oregon, awardees are selected based on their ability to motivate student achievement and excitement in science.

Central Oregon: Deschutes, Jefferson, Crook & Lake Counties

High School

Ron Crawford

Bend Senior High School

Bend-LaPine School District

Ron is awesome. He has been my mentor for 15 years of teaching and still continues to invest in this next generation of teachers. He continues to grow and challenge himself to bring richness of content and discussion of NGSS into the classroom. He gives him time and he gives his resources to help other teachers be the best that they can be. He is innovative in the classroom and still creating the best content and engagement for students.

Greater Oregon: Baker, Grant, Harney, Morrow, Umatilla, Union & Wallowa Counties

High School

Amy Smith

Burns High School

Harney County School District

Ms. Amy Smith began teaching Biology in our district in 2008. She came from a professional position with USDA-ARS in Range Ecology. Her impact on our district has been monumental. What sets Amy apart from other teachers at our school, is her absolute passion for teaching sciences with a hands-on approach and eliminating classroom walls by getting students in the field. She has an unmatched ability to take the very complicated concepts of Biology and present them in a format that students of all learning abilities, cultures and identities can understand. Additionally, she was an intregual part of a grant writing team that brought in over $100,000 in STEM money to our district. As colleagues, we have logged thousands of miles on Science Club and classroom field trips to Hatfield Marine Center, Fred Hutch Cancer Center, Eastern Oregon University and locally. Her hands-on, “real-life” approach to teaching science engages students in such a way that it results in them loving science and at the same time she uses that platform to build connections and lasting relationships with students. If you are searching for a teacher that truly goes beyond for her students and community, then Amy is your teacher.

Portland-Metro: Multnomah (West of I-205) & Washingtob Counties


Margaret Walker-Byrne

Lewis Elementary

Portland Public Schools

Margaret has taught for over 25 years in the Portland Public Schools district. I first met her when I joined the K-8 Instructional Specialist MSP-funded grant program in early 2016. The K-8 Instructional Specialist grant was an intensive 3-year program that required a huge time commitment by participants. Margaret not only completed that program, but is now participating in year 2 of the Elementary STEAM Leaders program through the Oregon STEM Hub network. Margaret has an unending enthusiasm for learning and improving her own teaching practice for her students' benefit. Margaret is also an incredible advocate for integrating science in elementary school, and joyfully and skillfully finds creative ways to engage her 2nd grade students in science regularly. She is so deserving of this award!

High School

Brennan Brockbank

Grant/David Douglas High School

PPS/David Douglas School Districts

Brennan is a outgoing collaborator with a strong sense of how to engage students in rigorous tasks. Dr. Brockbank is a consistent contributor the the Patterns Physics community at several levels including, his own school and especially the emerging online community that has allowed teachers to connect from all around the state. Brennan has generously shared his work and constructive criticism that has allowed so many students to be better served. He also always he always acknowledges the work of others, as he has a foundational part of many productive, collegial networks.

South Metro - Salem: Clackamas, Marion, Polk, & Yamhill Counties

Middle School

Brittany Olson

Chehalem Valley Middle School

Newberg-Dundee Public Schools

Brittany Olson has gone above and beyond for CVMS's science program this year. She is a phenomenal teacher that builds in student choice in projects, ready feedback for student growth, and excellent communication and extension options that she shares with families. While a fellow teacher was out with illness, and another science position was covered by a long term substitute, Brittany prepped for all the science classes and graded the students while the other teachers were unable to do so. She has students excited to learn about science in all of those classes, and has been an incredible support to all of her colleagues. She definitely deserves to be nominated for this award.

OSTA recently moved from 7 regions across Oregon to 13 regions, representing each of Oregon's STE(A)M Hubs. Based on this year's awards, for next year, there can be additional awards for teachers in these regions. Know someone who should receive recognition? Nominate them today. 

For 2024, addition regions to be recognized.

Columbia Gorge: Gilliam, Hood River, Sherman, Wasco, & Wheeler Counties

East Metro: Multnomah County East of I-205

Frontier: Malhuer County

Lane: Lane County

Mid-Valley: Linn & Benton Counties

Oregon Coast: Clatsop, Coos, Curry, Lincoln & Tillamook Counties

Northwest: Clatskanie, Knappa, Rainier, Scappoose, St. Helens & Vernonia School Districts

Southern Oregon: Jefferson, Crook, Deschutes, & Harney Counties

Nominations are open for 2024


The Presidential Award is the nation's highest honor for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. The following teachers have been selected as national and state finalists.

2023 State Finalists

Catherine (Cady) Geer

Sunset High School

Beaverton School District

Nicholas Krisseie

Lincoln Middle  School

Oakland School District

Stacey Zaback

Luckimute Valley Charter School

Dallas School District

Nominations are being accepted now for teachers of science in grades K-6. Nominate an outstanding science teacher here.


4110 SE Hawthorne Blvd, #1025
Portland, Oregon

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