In a surprise announcement during an early morning staff meeting, Nellie Muir Elementary IB School educator, Rosa Floyd, was named and celebrated as Oregon’s 2023 Teacher of the Year! Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill and Governor Kate Brown joined Woodburn School District Superintendent Joe Morelock in honoring Floyd for her deep commitment to students and families, her classroom expertise and creativity, and decades of dedication to colleagues and community.
“The best teachers meet their students where they are––they know their passions, struggles, and aspirations. Especially those who have walked in their students’ shoes. Drawing on her own background and life experiences, Rosa Floyd recognizes the critical need for students to see themselves reflected in their teachers, and their communities reflected in their classrooms,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Rosa’s passion for culture and creativity can be seen in her dedication to her students and their families, and the way she connects her classroom with the community around her. Woodburn, and all of Oregon, is lucky to have Rosa in the classroom, inspiring and enriching her students every day.”
Rosa Floyd was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. She received her diploma in folkloric dance and her graduate degree in architecture and interior design from the University of Guadalajara. Rosa continued studies in Spanish language and literature in Spain. She worked in the audiovisual department at the Universidad de
Guadalajara designing secondary instructional materials for a state educational program. When Rosa first moved to the United States, she worked as an instructional assistant at a migrant summer school and high school in Hillsboro. Seeing the needs of Spanish speaking students at the high school enacted a career change in Rosa’s life that led her to pursue a teaching license. Rosa taught in an immersion Spanish program at a private school in Oregon for six years before she was recruited by Woodburn School District where she has taught dual immersion kindergarten for 22 years. Rosa works with students and colleagues to connect school to the community and create opportunities to extend learning beyond the classroom.
“Rosa Floyd is not only an exemplary educator, she is a treasured part of the Woodburn community,” Gill said. “She’s made a positive impact in countless ways: from helping develop a district preschool program, to her volunteer work starting and supporting a parent education program, to her creation of a Mexican Folkloric dance group that spans students, staff and families. Rosa leads and fosters programs that bring people together. She is a mentor and an advocate whose positive impacts on the lives of students and families have been and will continue to be deeply felt for many years.”
“I feel that my responsibility as a teacher is to be a bridge that connects our parents with the school system. When families are involved in their children’s learning, children show improvement in academics, self-esteem, behavior, and attendance,” Floyd said in her application. “One of my fundamental beliefs about teaching is that it has the power to create unity within a family, classroom, school, and community… We always want to learn more about the culture of our students and their families and for them to realize the great impact that families have in this community. This learning and appreciation for different cultures and traditions will help our students to live with and understand other people.”
The Oregon Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the Oregon Department of Education in partnership with the Oregon Lottery. Floyd was celebrated as a Regional Teacher of the Year in September, and receives a $10,000 cash award as the 2023 Oregon Teacher of the Year. A matching $5,000 is also awarded to Nellie Muir Elementary IB School.
“The Oregon Lottery is proud to support the Oregon Teacher of the Year program,” said Oregon Lottery Director Barry Pack. “Rosa’s dedication to the children and families of Woodburn extends beyond the classroom, with her ability to honor cultures and traditions at the heart of her passion. Let’s celebrate Rosa, the 2023 Oregon Teacher of the Year, and all Oregon educators working tirelessly to make a difference for our students.”
The Oregon Teacher of the Year is selected after an extensive application process. Nominees from schools throughout Oregon submitted packets of information including testimonials and letters of support from administrators, students and colleagues. From the written material, applicants were assessed on leadership, instructional expertise, community involvement, understanding of educational issues, professional development and vision.
As the 2023 Oregon Teacher of the Year, Floyd will serve as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers. She will also receive year-long professional development and networking with other state Teachers of the Year through the Chief Council of State School Officers’ (CCSSO) National Teacher of the Year program.