OnPoint Community Credit Union Announces 2018 Prize for Excellence in Education; Accepting Nominations Through April 9, 2018

Press Release

PORTLAND, Ore., February 27, 2018—OnPoint Community Credit Union has announced details of the 2018 OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education. The contest will award more than $50,000 to deserving public and private K-12 teachers and schools, including paying the mortgage of two winning teachers for one school year. Now in its 9th year, the annual campaign has awarded more than $240,000 in prizes to 60 local educators and schools.

Founded in 1932 by 16 school teachers as Portland Teachers Credit Union, OnPoint continues its commitment to strengthening local education by supporting students, schools and educators in a variety of ways. The OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education is the cornerstone of OnPoint’s work in education.

“It is our privilege to honor the remarkable teachers and school communities who participate in the OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education,” said OnPoint’s President and CEO Rob Stuart. “Their passion for teaching and commitment to their students is an inspiration to all of us.”

The 2018 OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education includes several awards, which will be announced in late May:

  • Educator of the Year:
    • One teacher representing grades K-8 and one representing grades 9-12 will be named Educator of the Year. OnPoint will pay their respective mortgages for one school year and donate $2,500 to their schools.
    • One K-8 teacher and one 9-12 teacher will be named Educator of the Year finalists and will each receive $2,500 for themselves and $1,000 for their schools.
    • Six teachers will be named to the Circle of Excellence and each awarded $1,000 for themselves and $500 for their schools.
  • Community Builder Award: Four schools will win $1,000 for a special project of their choice.

Last year, David Valenzuela, a biomedical sciences teacher at Madison High School in Portland, was named the 9-12 Educator of the Year. OnPoint paid Valenzuela’s mortgage for one school year and donated $2,500 to Madison for resources and supplies. Valenzuela was commended for his aspirational and innovative teaching methods and for bringing private partnerships to fruition that afforded students one-of-a-kind educational opportunities. An M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust Foundation Partner in Science Fellow, Valenzuela brought grants and research facility partnerships to his school, offering students hands-on experience. He also guided both colleagues and students as Chair of Madison HS Science Department, and advisor of the Hispanic Club, American Red Cross Club and Health Occupation Students of America Club.

Also in 2017, James Nosen, a beloved art teacher at Baker Prairie Middle School in Canby, Ore. was named K-8 Educator of the Year. OnPoint paid Nosen’s mortgage for one school year and donated $2,500 to Baker Prairie for resources and supplies. Nosen, who retired in June, was recognized for his 33 years of dedication to students and the community, helping to nurture and inspire the artist inside each of his middle school students. During his career, he took more than 1,000 students and family members on trips to 36 different countries, raising funds to make travel possible for every student interested in participating. Every month, Nosen opened his studio doors to the community, welcoming artists, students and their families for an evening of art music and conversation.

“I would encourage any teacher interested in applying for the OnPoint Prize or nominating a fellow teacher to pursue it,” said 2017 9-12 Educator of the Year David Valenzuela. “Even just the process itself of submitting the application is rewarding. You’re able to see your work and reflect on the impact of your work in the lives of students.”

Campaign information and nomination forms are now available at www.onpointprize.com. Submissions will be accepted until 5:30 PM PDT on April 9, 2018. Anyone can nominate an educator, and educators may also nominate themselves. Applicants must be a full-time or job-share classroom teacher, counselor or librarian of grades K-12 in an accredited public, private or charter school located within any county that OnPoint serves (Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon, and Clark and Skamania counties in Washington). For information about the campaign, additional qualifications and contest rules, please see www.onpointprize.com.


OnPoint Community Credit Union is the largest credit union in Oregon, serving more than 340,000 members and with assets of $5 billion. Founded in 1932, OnPoint Community Credit Union’s membership is available to anyone who lives or works in one of 13 Oregon counties (Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington and Yamhill) and two Washington counties (Skamania and Clark) and their immediate family members. More information is available at www.onpointcu.com or 503-228-7077 or 800-527-3932.

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