• Wilson High teacher is finalist for Educator of the Year award

    Español| Tiếng Việt| 中文| Русский| Soomaali
    Joe Minato

    Wilson High School teacher Joe Minato is a finalist for the OnPoint Eduator of the Year Award for grades 9-12. (Photo courtesy Joe Minato)

    Two high school teachers from Portland Public Schools have been selected to the OnPoint Community Credit Union Circle of Excellence, with one of them, Wilson's Joe Minato, named a finalist for the organization's Educator of the Year Award.

    Minato, who teaches AP Physics I and Science Research, was joined by Franklin Metalworking and Manufacturing teacher Myron Ryan in being named to the Circle of Excellence. That honor comes with a $1,500 cash prize and $1,000 donation to the school of each of the 10 selectees.

    Minato was named one of two finalists for the Educator of the Year honor for grades 9-12. The winner, along with the winner for K-8 teachers, will be announced on Tuesday, May 21. The two winners will have their mortgages paid by OnPoint for a year, and their schools will get $2,500 each. The other finalists will get a $5,000 gift, and $1,500 for their schools.

    At Wilson, Minato has been responsible for the growth of AP Physics I, which had no classes when he arrived and now has five. He started "science salons" that pair AP Physics students with underclassmen who need help, as well as an astronomy club, and he hosts community star parties and teaches continuing education courses to teachers who are in the early-to-middle parts of their careers.

    “Mr. Minato can galvanize the sleepiest class of teens and set them on fire with his inspiring combination of passion, creativity, knowledge, compassion and humor," writes Kathy Weeks, the parent of a former student, for the award webpage. "Even at lunchtime, Joe’s classroom is packed with students who want more.”

    At Franklin, Ryan goes beyond tech skills by also teaching soft skills that students will need in the workplace, such self-sufficiency, problem solving, self-initiation, and critical thinking. He regularly invites trade professionals to speak to his students, and offers an after-school credit recovery class to help struggling students.