Madison’s James Jeffrey-West named Regional Teacher of the Year5/19/2020
Madison High School teacher James Jeffrey-West has been named a 2021 Oregon Regional Teacher of the Year. Jeffrey-West, who is in his seventh year at Madison and 22nd year as a teacher, won for the region covered by the Multnomah Education Service District.
Jeffrey-West, a social studies teacher, is one of 15 regional winners who are now nominated for the Oregon Teacher of the Year Award. Another PPS teacher, Mercedes Muñoz of Franklin High School, won the statewide award for 2020. The Oregon Teacher of the Year program is presented by the Oregon Department of Education in partnership with the Oregon Lottery.
Jeffrey-West has been a champion of Ethnic Studies and AP Psychology at Madison. He has worked on Portland Public Schools' Ethnic Studies Oversight Committee and is currently serving on the State of Oregon Ethnic Studies Content Panel. He has grown AP Psychology at Madison from one section to four, making it the largest AP offering at the school.
Each school day, Jeffrey-West can be found eating lunch during his prep period because he turns his classroom into a hub of activity during lunch, hosting 10 to 25 students for snacks and sandwiches (which he provides or gets donations for), study sessions for upcoming exams, and regular Kahoots quiz games. In his award letter, he was lauded for his ability to build trust and relationships with students of Madison’s unique population. Almost 70% of Madison’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and its students speak 35 languages at home.
“Throughout the years he has remained unwavering in his commitment to high expectations, academic excellence and equal opportunity for all students,” Adam Skyles, Madison principal, wrote in his nominating letter. “One of his greatest strengths is ensuring that students know that he cares about them as an individual.”
Jeffrey-West and the other regional winners each won a $500 prize. They were nominated by students, colleagues, administrators, friends or family members for the award, and were selected by a diverse panel of regional representatives. The 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year will be announced in the fall.