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Oregon’s 2024 Teacher of the Year
Cultivating academic success, teaching kindness and inspiring the next generation of educators, Mandy Vance makes a difference far beyond the walls of Cedar Ridge Middle School.
A Commitment to the Future
Dr. Mandy Vance teaches STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) curriculum at Cedar Ridge Middle School in rural Sandy. “Standing on the shoulders of giants”, Mandy is grateful for the role her teachers played in her life. Prior to being honored as Oregon’s Teacher of the Year she was awarded a $1,000 prize as a Regional Teacher of the Year, a prize she donated to a scholarship foundation for aspiring teachers.
What I’m really hoping is that I inspire the next generation to want to become teachers because we need more teachers right now.— Mandy Vance
Empowering Students & Embracing Imagination
A lifelong learner (and an Elf Paladin – read on), Mandy earned her Doctorate in Education from Concordia University, where her research focused on the relational needs of Gen Z athletes. With this expertise, she designed a district-wide curriculum to support students’ mental, emotional, and social wellness. Mandy is deeply committed to creating a holistic, nurturing environment where students feel a strong sense of belonging.
Her commitment and support extend beyond regular coursework and even beyond the realm of reality. Mandy opens her classroom for various club activities at Cedar Ridge, supporting her students in their hobbies as well. Students created a lunchtime Dungeons & Dragons group and Mandy not only supervises, but joins in the world of fun and imagination on occasion as an Elf Paladin.
Across the Oregon Trail School District and Beyond
Mandy’s passion for teaching goes beyond the walls of her classroom. She helped found and advises student affinity groups, serves in her local teachers’ union, mentors student teachers, and teaches online as an adjunct professor for Eastern Oregon University. At Cedar Ridge, Mandy serves on the Site Council Leadership Team, collaborating with administrators, parents, and fellow teachers to support the school community and define and implement its priorities.
To paraphrase Dr. Charlene Williams, Director of the Oregon Department of Education, “Mandy is an educator who has consistently demonstrated care for students. This is a teacher who empowers students, helps them see themselves and all they have to offer, and challenges them to do more than they ever thought they were capable of.”
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