Mandy Vance Named 2023-24 Regional Teacher of the Year Oregon Teacher of the Year Finalist
By Oregon Trail School District
Mandy Vance has a special connection to the gymnasium at Boring Middle School, where she has taught wellness courses to her sixth, seventh and eighth grade students for 14 years. She’s helped shape the education of thousands of students there, and her husband also proposed to her in that gym. And the same space was central again for Vance on Sept. 21 during an all-school assembly to celebrate her being named 2023-24 Regional Teacher of the Year for Clackamas County as well as a finalist for 2023-24 Oregon Teacher of the Year.
Boring Middle School Vice Principal Niki Trautman, Oregon Trail Superintendent Aaron Bayer and Clackamas ESD Superintendent Larry Didway made those announcements to a delighted crowd of Vance’s students and colleagues, sharing that she was selected for the regional honor from among a record 200+ nominees for the award.
“Out of a huge pool of worthy nominees, Mandy stood out,” said Didway. “Our selection panel was deeply impressed and moved by Mandy’s extraordinary commitment to helping each of her students be seen, valued and empowered as they navigate their challenging adolescent years.”
Vance, who is on special assignment this fall as a science teacher at Cedar Ridge Middle School in Sandy, has spent her entire teaching career in the Oregon Trail School District, but her impact has extended beyond district boundaries. At Boring Middle School, she has designed district-wide curriculum to support students’ mental, emotional and social wellness, helped found and advise student affinity groups, and served as a teacher mentor and in other leadership roles. Vance holds a doctorate in education and is an adjunct online professor in the College of Health Science at Eastern Oregon University. A former college athlete, she’s also a longtime coach in multiple sports.
“One of Mandy’s greatest attributes is that she collaborates well with all staff,” said Morgan MacGregor, Boring Middle School principal. “She works closely with her grade-level team to uphold common behavior and academic expectations. Mandy is highly dedicated to the educational process and goes above and beyond to develop academically rigorous and highly engaging lessons, aligned with standards.”
Vance is one of 17 teachers from throughout Oregon chosen by education service districts to receive Regional Teacher of the Year honors. She is one of just four finalists to become the next Oregon Teacher of the Year; that winner will be announced in October.
“I am honored and humbled by this recognition,” said Vance. “I became a teacher because I had several who made a difference in my life and showed up for me when I needed it most. It is my hope to do the same for each of my students, not just now, but for their lifetime.
“I strongly believe every student I interact with is my teacher; I learn from them just as they learn from me. I work hard to make my classroom a transformative, inclusive space where students are empowered and equipped to lead, and bridges of understanding and empathy are built.”
The Teacher of the Year awards program is sponsored by the Oregon Department of Education, in partnership with the Oregon Lottery. Regional winners receive a $1,000 cash prize.