Franklin High School Special Education teacher Mercedes Muñoz was named Oregon’s 2020 Teacher of the Year in a surprise assembly today. Muñoz was honored in front of the school’s entire student body and faculty in the Franklin gymnasium today surrounded by Franklin High School Principal Chris Frazier, Portland Public Schools (PPS) Board of Directors, PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero, Portland Association of Teachers President Suzanne Cohen, Director of the Oregon Department of Education Colt Gill, and distinguished elected officials.
Muñoz has led Franklin’s Special Education efforts since 2014. Renowned for being a compassionate, equity focused, student-centered instructor, she is on the school’s equity and professional development teams, and is highly involved in the recruitment of historically underserved students in Franklin’s Advanced Placement Program.
“Ms. Muñoz has touched the lives of so many students as she helps them realize their potential, seeks resources and provides the supports necessary to help them achieve their academic and personal goals,” said Principal Frazier. “Her advocacy for students knows no boundaries as she commits herself to providing equitable access to instruction for all students and by example holds our community accountable for doing the same.”
“Talented teachers are a key ingredient to the success of our students,” said Superintendent Guerrero. “Educators like Mercedes Muñoz exemplify the best in our profession and at the Portland Public Schools. Ms. Muñoz plays a significant role in her students’ lives and in their educational experience. We are absolutely thrilled that she is being recognized as Oregon’s Teacher of the Year!"
The Oregon Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the Oregon Department of Education in partnership with the Oregon Lottery. Muñoz was awarded 2020 Regional Teacher of the Year in May, and receives a $5,000 cash award as 2020 Oregon Teacher of the Year. A matching $5,000 is also awarded to the school.
“We are a better school community because of the dedication and hard work of Mercedes Muñoz,” shared Frazier.
The Oregon Teacher of the Year is selected after an extensive application process. Nominees from schools throughout Oregon submitted packets of information including testimonials and letters of support from administrators, students and colleagues. From the written material, applicants were assessed on leadership, instructional expertise, community involvement, understanding of educational issues, professional development and vision.
As the 2020 Oregon Teacher of the Year, Muñoz will serve as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers. She will attend the Washington Recognition Week for Teachers of the Year in Washington, D.C. this spring in addition to receiving year-long professional development and networking with other state Teachers of the Year.
Source: Portland Public Schools