News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Centennial Elementary celebrates ‘Teacher of the Year’

Centennial Elementary School teacher Michelle LeFeber has been named 2023 Teacher of the Year by the Oregon Small Schools Association (OSSA) for her dedication to students and the teaching profession.

An Oct. 18 OSSA news release announced the award, which will be presented to LeFeber during a ceremony Nov. 11 at the Oregon Small School Annual Breakfast in Portland.

The release described LeFeber as “an exemplary teacher/leader who works tirelessly to improve the success of her students and the community she serves in.”

Scio School District (SSD) Superintendent Steve Martinelli told The Canyon Weekly LeFeber’s exceptional skills and attitude show “teaching is not just a profession but a calling.” 

He said LeFeber’s “immeasurable” impact is felt beyond the classroom by the many teachers she has mentored and the students they teach.

“We are proud of Mrs. Lefeber and feel very blessed that she is one of our own,” said Martinelli. “(OSSA) couldn’t have picked a better candidate for Teacher of the Year.”

LeFeber has been with SSD for 22 years and currently teaches second grade. Centennial Principal Kimberlee Roth said in her nomination form that LeFeber has earned a reputation during that time as someone who pushes both herself and students toward excellence.

“Her energy and enthusiasm for teaching draws the students in, motivating them to give their best effort,” said Roth.

She said LeFeber reflects on her work as a teacher and takes a data-driven approach to improving the classroom. 

This dedication to seeking solutions drove LeFeber to create a local mentorship program after a recent influx of new teachers which has since become a model for other districts, said Roth. This includes the Western Regional Educators Network and Linn Benton Lincoln Education Service District, whom LeFeber is helping develop their own programs.

Roth said all Scio students, parents and community members should be proud of LeFeber.

“I cannot think of a more deserving educator that has created a greater impact on several generations of our small community’s students,” said Roth.

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