News Article

The Teacher of the Year Award Goes to...!

Celebrating the "Living Curriculum"

The 2021-22 OCS "Teacher of the Year" honors went to High School Science Teacher Julie Pugh and Middle School Math Teacher Tyler Erickson. Formally known as The Atsinger Teaching Excellence Award, the title is awarded to faculty instructors for their teaching performance throughout the school year and those who are recognized by their colleagues. 

Last year's "Teacher of the Year" recipient High School English Teacher Sally Gordon presented this year's award to Pugh at the high school graduation ceremony June 2.

"The teachers who shaped my life have two things in common. The love they had for their subjects which made me love learning, and the love they had for me which reminded me that I was not a number but a person," Gordin said when presenting the award. 

It was a personal dedication for Gordon since Pugh is a special colleague and friend.

"Mrs. Pugh teaches with enthusiasm and expertise. She helps students uncover the joy of scientific discovering exploration even as one of the smartest, most capable students made errors that should be physically impossible to make or calculate anything from. Mrs. Pugh was able to take those and make them interesting. They're not mistakes that are worthless endeavors. They're ways to learn and find something interesting," Gordin added.

Pugh's article "Steering the Ship Through the Fog" was published in Amgen's Biotech Experiences Pandemic Teaching Series. This is part of a series of teacher stories to celebrate resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pugh shares lessons learned by herself as the teacher and for her students during the challenges of the pandemic lockdown. An excerpt from the FULL ARTICLE.

At the eighth-grade graduation May 20, Head of School Rob Black addressed the eight-grade graduates and their families about the three main components needed to achieve an effective and excellent style of teaching: subject expertise, pedagogy, connection and engagement. Oaks Christian has included two more attributes: a winsome educator, the catalyst that creates the excitement in learning, and being a solid Christ-like role model.

"Upon starting at Oaks Christian, Tyler Erickson jumped out of the blocks immediately, seeking ways to bring meaningful instruction. He brought a commitment to make sure that all learning was student-centered. And he allowed students to pursue curiosity points and move at a pace that fits their level of learning," stated a fellow OCS colleague.

Erickson exemplifies what it means to be the "living curriculum." As Erickson worked with the students as equals during the day, he was also involved as a residential life parent at the Oaks Christian Residential Life Dormitory.