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Oregon Teacher of the Year

Franklin educator receives top honor

10/9/2019, 11:30 a.m.
Franklin High School special education educator Mercedes Muñoz was named Oregon’s 2020 Teacher of the Year
Mercedes Muñoz

Franklin High School special education educator Mercedes Muñoz has been named Oregon’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

Director of the Oregon Department of Education Colt Gill was joined by Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero and Franklin High Principal Chris Frazier in honoring Muñoz for the encouragement, equity and voice she offers to her students every day during an assembly at the school on Friday.

“Great educators are at the heart of student success in Oregon’s public schools,” said Gov. Kate Brown. “What Mercedes has done to advance equity and inclusion at Franklin High School, especially with students from historically underserved communities, is a great example of the standard we must continue to strive for to ensure that every student in Oregon, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to learn and achieve.”

As a learning specialist at Franklin since 2013, Muñoz has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the special education push-in model. She is a member of the school’s equity team and safety and poetry slam committees. She is also highly involved in the recruitment of historically underserved students in Franklin’s Advanced Placement Program.

“Every student deserves a teacher who is unwaveringly committed to their success,” said Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education. “As a special education teacher, Mercedes delivers daily hope and encouragement to a wide range of students with varying academic, social and emotional needs. I look forward to her impact as a model for all teachers across our state this coming year.”

In a letter of recommendation, Muñoz was referred to as “a force of nurture” at Frankin, a champion in advocating for the learning needs of all students and ensuring they are seen, heard and prepared for the transition from high school.

“Teaching requires excellence and grace, which means staying up to read the article that will inform your instruction for weeks to come,” said Muñoz. “Teaching is so much more than issuing a grade or collecting an assignment. Teaching is a revolutionary act of social justice that empowers children to evolve and grow.”