OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education

Share your thoughts and comments about the OnPoint Prize, excellence in education, or examples of how you or your favorite teacher has helped make your school stronger.

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"I wish I knew about this sooner. I have 2 teachers from Waldo Middle School that i would have loved to nominate. Maybe next year."

"Please put me on your list so I can nominate our teacher next year. Thanks !"

"I hold Valerie Larson, Clackamas High School's PE teacher in the highest regard as an educator and a friend. She really cares about your success!"
FROMNadine Shaw

"I am nominating Sahjo Brown of Hosford Middle School of PPS. As our counselor, Ms. Brown is patient and a wonderous advocate for our students."
FROMCynthia Morse

"Tim Friesen of Molalla HS is an extraordinary, amazing teacher. His enthusiasm, energy, creativity,love, encouragement & dedication have changed the lives of everyone."
FROMKaren Bitz



We're pleased to announce our final winners for the OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education. All of these individuals have demonstrated a passion for their work and the ability to instill that passion in the students they teach. To all our finalists, we extend our congratulations and sincere thanks.

Thank you to all of you who made nominations, wrote references, and provided feedback. Without your participation, none of this would have been possible. We look forward to hearing from you again next year!

Educators of the Year

Kevin Topolski

K-8th Grades
Kevin Topolski
Ron Russell Middle School
Portland, Oregon
6th grade/Reading and Writing

“Kevin Topolski’s classroom stands out as exceptionally vibrant, innovative, and inspiring. Kevin teaches in Multnomah County’s lowest income middle school, but you wouldn’t know that if you visited his room. You would find yourself surrounded by young leaders engaged in critical thinking, challenging problem solving and collaborative discourse.”
– Belle Koskela, David Douglas Instructional Coach and Key Trainer Coordinator

Sam Ormson and Eric Smedsrud

9-12th Grades
Sam Ormson and Eric Smedsrud
Mountain View High School
Vancouver, Washington
9-12th grades/Band and Orchestra

“Sam Ormson and co-applicant Eric Smedsrud have developed a system with student experience and achievement at the foundation of every component… Their work has created not only a nationally recognized instrumental music program, but also provides an inspiring experience in music for every student and has shaped the lives of the 1000s of students they have instructed. Their innovations to music education are seen at every level of the program.”
– Kristy Murray, Parent and Booster President

2015 Finalists

K-8th Grades  9-12th Grades
Darryl Coppedge

Darryl Coppedge
Ardenwald Elementary School
Milwaukie, Oregon
3rd grade

Gretchen Kraig-Turner

Gretchen Kraig-Turner
Jefferson High School
Portland, Oregon
9-12th grades/Science