Sharing her life experiences with students and going the extra mile for them, as well as the district, has earned Riddle Junior/Senior High School life science teacher Beverly Scott the title of 2021 Oregon Regional Teacher of the Year.
“I am beyond honored to be recognized,” Scott said. “We have 13 districts and about 800 teachers (in the Douglas Education Service District). We all work so diligently for our students. To be recognized in this way is a great honor. There are so many teachers deserving of this.”
A list of the 15 regional teachers of the year was released Tuesday by the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Lottery. In the fall, one of those teachers will be named the 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year.
Scott, along with the other regional teachers, was selected for the honors through regional applications, which included testimonials, letters of support and assessments.
Riddle High School junior Paige Knight submitted a letter of support for Scott.
“She’s always been such an amazing teacher,” Knight said. “She’s very caring and sometimes she can come off as strict, but she really just wants you to be your best.”
Knight said that Scott is almost always at the school, ready to help her students before school, after school and even on Saturdays.
Savanah Garren, a parent, wrote about the impact Scott had on her family, by noticing not only a change in the academic performance of her son but also behavioral changes.
Scott helped Garren and her family through the process of testing for a learning disability, which turned out to be high-functioning autism.
“I owe everything to her,” Garren said. “I don’t know where he would’ve been if she hadn’t stepped in. She’s been his advocate and we owe so much to her.”
Garren said Scott has continuously checked in with the family to see if they have additional needs.
Scott said forming those bonds with not just students, but families and the community, are all part of teaching for her.
Scott started teaching in Riddle six years ago. She has previously worked as a medical instructor at a private college for two years.
She’s also been a media specialist in the Army, a real estate agent, a business owner, a marketer and a mom.
Scott had four children — daughters Raylynn and Sierra, and sons Weston and Skyler — and all of them have inspired her, she said.
Sierra, who lives in Fresno, California, has a 2-year-old daughter, Scott’s first grandchild.
Raylynn is the valedictorian for the Riddle High School class of 2020. “I’m so happy for her, but I wish she would be here for one more year,” Scott said. “It’s time. She’s ready to go out there and grow.”
Weston, who was born as a conjoined twin, has died. But Scott’s experience with medical staff during Weston’s stay in the hospital prompted an interest in the medical field, health care and genetics in Scott.
Scott started taking emergency medical technician courses, then medical assisting and ended up teaching medical assistant students.
“That’s where I built my love for teaching and education,” Scott said, adding that she particularly enjoys her interest in health care and teaching combined in her courses.
After she moved to Oregon, she started her own business and it was her son Skyler who reignited her love for teaching.
“I wanted to be a teacher as a young girl,” Scott said. “But we didn’t have a lot of money, we were poor, so I went into the military and life happened.”
When Skyler, who is a substitute teacher for the Douglas Education Service District, decided to go to school to become a teacher, his mother decided to join him on the educational journey and obtain her own teaching license.
Scott started teaching sixth grade students in Riddle but made the move to teach science at the high school this year.
Scott started teaching dual credit allied health courses through Umpqua Community College that will earn students 15 college credits at the beginning of the school year.
Knight said she enjoyed taking the class and hopes to go into a career in allied health in the future.
“I kind of cared before, but after talking with her, she said I could go into different fields and go deeper,” Knight said. “She thought I could do better.”
The dual credit class is the most active virtual class she’s teaching during Distance Learning for All, the education system that was implemented throughout the state once schools were closed for the remainder of the academic year as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Providing opportunities such as these are important to Scott, who acknowledges that economic inequity is one of the major struggles in education.
Poverty is something that impacts not only most students in Riddle, but also the school district itself. The district has been unsuccessful in passing bond measures for additional funding and although it does receive some contributions from community organizations, there are still needs that have not been met.
“Larger communities they almost adopt schools. We don’t have that here,” Scott said.
Scott said she and her co-teacher Michael Towle, who teaches physical science, have spent thousands of dollars on materials for the students because “we know it’s what’s needed.”
“Whenever Ms. Scott notices a roadblock for her students, she becomes an advocate for change,” said William Starkweather, the principal at Riddle Junior/Senior High School, in a press release. “She routinely meets with me to discuss what is best for her students: Saturday School teacher, extra time with students, minimizing interruptions with students, technology, professional development, and most importantly, lending a helping hand for those students in need beyond the classroom.”
Scott has been the yearbook adviser, webmaster of the school website, administrator for the social media site and cheer coach at Riddle.
The other regional teachers of the year were: Irving Elementary School second grade teacher Nicole Butler-Hooten, Imbler High School agriculture teacher JD Cant, Oregon City High School biology teacher Kate Fisher Hedeen, McKay High School language arts teacher Larkin Foley, Ashwood Elementary School K-8 teacher Melanie Friend, North Bend High School science teacher Christina Geierman, We’east Middle School industrial tech teacher Patrick Getchis, Tillamook High School history teacher Ryan Hamilton, Newport High School math teacher Brian Hanna, Madison High School social science teacher James-Jeffery-West, Adel School District grade 4-8 teacher Stacey Martin, Aiken Elementary School kindergarten teacher Mayra Pelayo, Ridgeview High School science and mathematics teacher Melissa Stolasz, and Riverside Elementary School physical education teacher Jordan Werner.
“Oregon educators never cease to amaze me with their resilience, creativity and unwavering commitment to student success,” said Colt Gill, the director of the Oregon Department of Education. “I’m honored and grateful to celebrate these 15 Regional Teachers of the Year for their excellence in this pivotal profession.”
The 15 teachers who were named regional winners will receive $500 each. The 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year will receive a $5,000 cash prize, with a matching $5,000 for the school, and will serve as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers. Three finalists will receive $2,000 with a matching $2,000 going to their school.