• PPS teachers, schools shine in OnPoint Excellence in Education awards

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     Matt Sten and Ali Herron

    Cleveland High School's Matt Sten (left) and Marysville K-8 School's Ali Herron are finalists for the OnPoint Educator of the Year Awards.

    Two teachers from Portland Public Schools were named finalists for the OnPoint Educator of the Year Awards, leading a strong showing by PPS in the OnPoint Excellence in Education program.

    • Ali Herron, a kindergarten teacher at Marysville K-8 School, is one of two finalists in the K-8 category.
    • Matt Sten, a social studies teacher at Cleveland High School, is one of two finalists in the 9-12 category.

    Herron was lauded for her leadership in mindfulness education at school and in the statewide education community, as well as the deep connections, and social and emotional support, that she provides her students.

    "I can't think of a better way to build the foundation of a child's lifelong success than to have Ali as their kindergarten teacher," former Marysville principal Lana Penley said in a testimonial.

    Sten is known for teaching history as a story and providing students multiple ways to understand, explore, analyze and create. He gives students the opportunity to take intellectual risks while developing their knowledge and skills.

    "He trained us to dig deep, helping us believe that through knowledge and analysis, people could meet their potential and make the world a better place," said Marcella Loprinzi Harden, a former student of Sten who is a Ph.D candidate in history at Georgetown University.

    Herron and Sten will each receive $5,000, with another $1,500 going to their schools. The Educator of the Year awards will be announced on Wednesday, May 27, with each of the two winners having their mortgages paid for one year, and their schools receiving $2,500. 101-5406-26330-99999

    Two other PPS teachers were among the six candidates named to the Circle of Excellence, which awards a $1,500 prize and $1,000 to the teacher’s school: Alfonso Garcia Arriola, a science teacher at ACCESS Academy, and Jesse Gardner, a language arts teacher at Madison High.

    Two PPS schools won money for projects from the OnPoint Community Builder award. Grout Elementary School took the top prize, determined by online community voting. Grout will use the $5,000 award to repair its track and field.

    Atkinson Elementary School earned $2,000 to fund a gardening and cultural cooking project.

    Learn more about the OnPoint Excellence in Education program.