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2019 Oregon Teacher Of The Year Honored At Churchill High

Tiffany Eckert

Oregon’s 2019 Teacher of the Year was named at an impromptu pep assembly in Eugene Tuesday. A popular Churchill High School educator received the honor from Governor Kate Brown.

“She has dedicated herself to helping students make the connection between classroom and career.” (cheers)

Students and staff roared as Keri Pilgrim-Ricker walked the full length of the gymnasium to meet the open arms of Governor Brown.

Pilgrim-Ricker has been an educator 12 years, four of them at Churchill High. She teaches Health Services in the Career and Technical Education program.

Credit Tiffany Eckert
2019 Oregon Teacher of the Year Keri Pilgrim-Ricker crosses the gym to receive her award.

Holding a large plaque, Pilgrim-Ricker gave her students the credit for her honor.

“You in fact make me better, you make all of us better.” (cheers)

Eugene 4-J officials say this is only the third time the state Teacher of the Year has come from the district.

Later, Pilgrim-Ricker acknowledged it is challenging to be singled out.

Credit Tiffany Eckert
Oregon Teacher of the Year Keri Pilgrim-Ricker is flanked by Governor Kate Brown, members of the Eugene 4-J Board of Education, Superintendent Gustavo Balderas (left right) and Director of Department of Education, Colt Gill (far right)

“For students, you could ask them and I feel like they could say everyone has a teacher of the year,” Pilgrim-Ricker says. “Everyone has someone who has impacted their lives that’s positive, that’s for the better.”

Pilgrim-Ricker was awarded $5,000 and a matching amount was given to Churchill High School. She will attend the Washington Recognition Week for Teachers of the Year in the nation’s capital this spring.

Credit Tiffany Eckert
Governor Kate Brown awards the 2019 Teacher of the Year award.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.
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