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Jessica Norton named Douglas Regional Teacher of the Year

Written by on September 19, 2023

Douglas County, Ore., — Every day in Oregon classrooms, teachers offer their innovation, energy and content mastery in support of students across the state. The Oregon Teacher of the Year Program recognizes and honors teacher excellence, with the state Teacher of the Year serving as the face and voice of exemplary educators across Oregon. Candidates for Oregon Teacher of the Year are exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled licensed public school educators in grades preK-12.

“Differentiating and meeting each student where they’re at is my jam. I was a student who learned differently, so I am a big advocate for aligning myself, as a teacher, with each student’s needs,” Norton is quoted from her application.

Regional Teachers of the Year are nominated by students, colleagues, administrators, friends or family members. Regional winners were identified through a local nomination, application and selection process facilitated by the 19 Education Service Districts around the state. Applicants submitted testimonials and letters of support and were assessed by a diverse panel of regional representatives on the attributes of leadership, instructional expertise, commitment to equity, community involvement, understanding of educational issues, vision and professional development.

“Congratulations to every Regional Teacher of the Year. These impressive educators inspire possibility and promise both inside and outside the classroom,” stated Dr. Charlene Williams, director of the Oregon Department of Education. “It’s vitally important to recognize the essential role that teachers play in their communities and to honor the many contributions they make in the lives of students all across Oregon. Earning this recognition means that an educator has built strong relationships and partnerships with students and families and empowered students to reach their fullest potential.” 

Each Regional Teacher of the Year wins a $1,000 cash prize and is in the running for Oregon’s 2023-24 Oregon Teacher of the Year – to be announced in October.

Since 1995, when the Oregon Lottery began allocating revenue to public education, more than $9 billion has been transferred to school districts across the state. This past year, over $800,000 of Oregon Lottery funding went to the South Umpqua School District, and nearly $8 million dollars went to Douglas County.

“Oregon Lottery is proud to celebrate the work and dedication of our Regional Teacher of the Year recipients,” said Mike Wells, interim director of Oregon Lottery. “These educators have shown exceptional leadership through their strong relationships with students and ability to uplift their communities.”   

On Friday, September 22, 2023, once all 17 Regional Teachers of the Year are announced, the full list of statewide winners will be available on the Oregon Teacher of the Year website.

Do you know an outstanding teacher? Please nominate them as the 2024-25 Oregon Teacher of the Year by visiting

Shortly following the event, photos from the regional surprise announcement for Jessica Norton will be available HERE

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