Help OnPoint Honor Our Community's Best Educators.

OnPoint Community Credit Union has always understood that investing in education is one of the best ways to build thriving communities. That's why we created the OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education. This program awards nearly $50,000 to local teachers and their schools. Here's what selected teachers and schools will win:

  • Educator of the Year - K-8 - Mortgage paid for one school year plus $2,500 to their school for resources and supplies.
  • Educator of the Year - 9-12 - Mortgage paid for one school year plus $2,500 to their school for resources and supplies.
  • Two Finalists - K-8 & 9-12 - $2,500 cash for each finalist plus an additional $1,000 to their schools for resources and supplies.
  • Community Builder - Four schools will win $1,000 for a special project of their choice.

Campaign update: Educator of the Year portfolios will be returned to the nominator by mid-June. An email with additional details will be sent to you by June 1 confirming where the materials will be sent.

Two prizes awarding excellence in education.

Educator of the Year

Finalists Announced.

Learn more

Community Builder Award

Winners Announced!

Learn More

OnPoint Prize Timeline

Image of OnPoint Prize Timeline
Image of OnPoint Prize Timeline

2017 Educator of the Year Finalists

We are excited to announce our four finalists for the 2017 Educator of the Year award. One winner from each category will receive their mortgage paid for one school year, plus $2,500 will be awarded to their schools for resources and supplies.

Tune in to KGW Newschannel 8's Live@7! on Thursday May 25 at 7:00 pm when we announce the winners!

Congratulations to the 2017 Finalists: (in alphabetical order by category)

James Nosen - Baker Prairie Middle School • Canby, Oregon
K-8 Finalist
James Nosen
Baker Prairie Middle School • Canby, Oregon

"I believe everyone is born with a creative spirit.  As an art teacher it is both my duty and privilege to find and nurture the “artist” within each of my students.  Middle schoolers are very unique.  Many are struggling with their identity somewhere between still being a child and becoming an adult.  Channeling that angst and energy into their art- work can create amazing things and new found confidence." - Jim Nosen

Meet Jim!

  • After teaching for 33 years, he will retire in June
  • Facilitated a visit from Arun Ghandi for the dedication of the student-created portrait of Mahatma Ghandi.
  • Art Explorers – Jim has taken more than 1000 students and family members on trips to 36 different countries, raising funds to make travel possible for every student interested in participating.
  • Open studio – On the first Thursday of every month, Jim opens his studio to the community. Monthly, 35-50 artists, students and their families attend for an evening of art music and conversation.

Mr. Nosen's great impact:

My experiences with Mr. Nosen sparked something inside me. In truth, he changed my life. I always considered myself a terrible artist. Slowly, art…became one of my favorite parts of my day. Former student, Katelin, former student. Katelin is now majoring in visual communications and photography.

In the thirty years as an educator I can say without reservation Jim is in the top 1% of staff that I have supervised. – Michael A Zagyva, Canby School District Board Chair

Amy Pederson - Mt. Scott Elementary School • Happy Valley, Oregon
K-8 Finalist
Amy Pederson
Mt. Scott Elementary School • Happy Valley, Oregon

“The very first day I taught Kindergarten, I knew I would never leave. Kindergarten is a special place that has my heart. I believe that I am responsible for teaching children to love learning. I want them to leave my classroom each day loving school just a little bit more. I want to teach them to be curious, ask questions, know it's okay to make mistakes, be kind to one another, work hard and to learn something new each day. I want them to leave Kindergarten knowing they are smart, talented and loved. That is my goal as their teacher.” - Amy Pederson

Meet Amy!

  • Educating students since 1996 and has enjoyed 15 years at Mt. Scott Elementary
  • Invests her spare time as a youth soccer coach

Inspiring words about Amy:

Mrs. Pederson is a joyful, energetic, and enthusiastic educator. Her students eagerly respond to her. I began volunteering with Mrs. Pederson when my granddaughter entered her class. She created such a lasting impact that five years later, I am still volunteering in this classroom because it is such a joy to watch her with students. – Beverly Dixon, volunteer

Mrs. Pederson has two essential attributes that make her an outstanding teacher. First, she loves what she does and her enthusiasm is evident in her classroom as well as in her relationships with families. Secondly, Mrs. Pederson has a clear and accurate understanding of how kindergarten students learn and grow. – Cameron Kitchen, Principal

Out of all the teachers I have met as a parent and an educator myself; she stands out as the epitome of what makes a great teacher. – Rebekah Murcray, Substitute Teacher

Ines Kuna - Vancouver iTech Preparatory • Vancouver, Washington
9-12 Finalist
Ines Kuna
Vancouver iTech Preparatory • Vancouver, Washington
9-12th Grade • English

"Children must feel seen if they are to invest in their education. My teaching methods prioritize the individual, their social and emotional well-being, need to feel appreciated, and yearning to find and foster strengths and interests. My number one goal is to empower students by providing opportunities for them to examine and develop real solutions for real issues in the areas of social justice, sustainability, and the advancement of the human condition. Through engaging in projects that directly impact their community, students learn at an early age that it is possible to change the world because they will have already done so by the time they graduate." - Ines Kuna

Meet Ines!

  • Guiding students for 5 years
  • Mentor to student teachers
  • Leading the way as the the advisor to the district’s Language Arts Community of Practice for standards-based grading
  • Creator of the iPrize - an engaging competition where students use Ancient Greek rhetoric and public-speaking skills learned in her English classes to pitch original inventions and prototypes they've created to venture capitalists.
  • Helped develop whole-school practices emphasizing college-preparedness, project-based curricula, and technology integration.

Inspiring words about Ines:

To say that she was a large part of shaping the student I am today would be an understatement. – Anastasiya, student

Mentoring student teachers is a privilege that normally requires a minimum of three years of teacher experience before consideration. I approached Ines to take on this role after just one year of teaching because of the quality of her work and my belief she would be an outstanding mentor. She is. – Christina Iremonger, Vancouver Public Schools Chief Digital Officer

David Valenzuela - Madison High School • Portland, Oregon
9-12 Finalist
David Valenzuela
Madison High School • Portland, Oregon
9-12th Grade • Biomedical Sciences

“Science education is an extraordinary opportunity to engage all students. I step into my classroom with the goal of encouraging my students to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems. As a teacher, there is nothing that excites me more than empowering our biomedical students to explore complex topics such as how to prevent and fight novel infections, screen and evaluate the code in our DNA, prevent and conquer cancer, and develop solutions to prevail when organs fail. Our students are conducting cutting edge graduate level research while in high school. This raises their academic achievement, and sets them up to succeed in the classroom and beyond.” - David Valenzuela

Meet David!

  • Guiding colleagues and students as the Chair of Madison HS Science Department, and advisor of the Hispanic Club, American Red Cross Club and Health Occupation Students of America club advisor
  • Honored to welcome Governor Kate Brown and Representative Earl Blumenauer for a classroom visit
  • M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Foundation Partner in Science Fellow
  • Brought grants and research facility partnerships to bear, offering students hands-on experience

Reflecting on David's impact:

David Valenzuela provides an extraordinary array of innovative teaching methods to reach all of our students. He approaches his teaching through the lens that science should not be just reading out of a textbook, but actively pursuing knowledge in engaging ways. – Jill Semlick, Peer Educator

He was hired to start our Project Lead the Way Biomedical Sciences program. What he has done for the program, the science department, school, and most importantly students has been nothing short of remarkable. – Petra Callin, Principal