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Educator Spotlight

Honoring Local Educators Throughout Our 5-County Region
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Gorge News honors Dufur School's CTE Coordinator, Leona Egeland

January 2024, Photo Credit: Gorge News

A recent article in Gorge News highlighted Leona Egeland's instrumental role in the Dufur Career Technical Education (CTE) program, emphasizing her dedication to guiding students towards their career aspirations. As the Dufur CTE coordinator, Egeland plays a pivotal role in facilitating hands-on learning experiences and forging partnerships with local businesses to provide diverse vocational training opportunities for students. Her commitment to personalized career guidance and industry-relevant skills development is evident in the program's emphasis on empowering students to explore various career paths aligned with their interests and talents

Egeland shares, "“It is my belief that any CTE program should strive to help students discover their natural giftings, talents and aptitudes, while at the same time reinforcing that fulfillment in your personal and professional life not only comes from using your naturals giftings in your work, but fulfillment is also obtained through taking pride in a job well done.” 

Link to the full article in Gorge News

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Charles Webber Receives Finalist Nomination for GTA's STEM Educator of the Year Award

January 2024Photo Credit: CCC News

Charles Webber is the instructor responsible for all of the technology-related courses at The Dalles High School, including serving as the VEX robotics coach. He became a Finalist for GTA’s STEM Educator of the Year award!  He has led multiple VEX robotics teams to success, exhibiting amazing growth throughout the last several seasons. He provokes teams to think in effective ways and has done an exceptional job at letting his student’s talent shine. As a quote from his nomination, “Charles is a beacon of inspiration. Despite facing significant resource constraints, he consistently leads his students to victory in numerous competitions. Beyond his success in these endeavors, Charles has also facilitated the academic advancement of several students, securing them full scholarships to prestigious universities, as well as making sure there are paths for other students to acquire the necessary skills to secure entry-level tech positions.”  

Link to Columbia Community Connection's article

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Jack Perrin Receives STEM Educator of the Year Award from the Gorge Technology Alliance (GTA)

December 2023

Jack Perrin is Founder and Director of Gorge MakerSpace in White Salmon whose mission is to empower and inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to explore and build their creative skills. Since 2014, Jack has been selflessly bringing youth and adult classes to the community, leading youth robotics in White Salmon, and finding new ways to reach students less represented in STEM careers like girls and Latino students. To quote his nomination: “Jack not only has a deep passion and expertise for STEM but more importantly he truly cares about his students and wants them to succeed. He is tireless in his pursuit of developing the future workforce.” Jack is well known in the Gorge for his STEM leadership. Besides his work at Gorge Makerspace, he also is engaged with groups like Career Connect SW Gorge Advisory Board and the Columbia Gorge STEM Hub. His participation with these organizations keeps him at the forefront of new STEM initiatives and opportunities so that he can maintain better outcomes for his students.

Link to press release

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Jamie Sowell, South Wasco County School District

December 2023

Jamie Sowell, South Wasco High School's Director of Technology, is a dedicated STEM educator excelling in teaching Calculus, Computer Science, and CAD while coaching the STEM club and High School VEX Robotics team. Jamie has also been a finalist for the GTA STEM Educator of the Year award. His commitment to STEM education is evident through volunteering at VEX State Championships, mentoring VEX IQ teams, and founding the High School "Girls Who Code" team, fostering impressive inclusivity with 75% female and 25% Native American participation. Jamie reintroduced CAD teachings after 16 years at South Wasco, covering laser cutting, Solidworks 3-D modeling, and 3-D printing. He offers dual credit courses in Computer Science and Calculus, holds a CTE Advanced Manufacturing license, and secured a CTE Revitalization grant to establish a CTE computer lab. Sowell's diverse skill set extends to videography at school events, another example of his commitment to supporting local students!

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Alan Cunningham, Arlington School District

June 2023

This month, we are honoring Alan Cunningham from Arlington School District. Alan is a manufacturing, IT, and CTE Instructor for Arlington High School. In April, Alan partnered with Paradise Rose Catering in Arlington to provide a Catering Bootcamp for 11 high school students. He shares that during the 4-day, 4-hour-per-day camp, there was "so much engaged learning! Everyone learned things and did good work." This is an excellent example of Career Connected Learning! Thank you, Alan! 

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