OnPoint Community Credit Union Opens Nominations for the 13th Annual Prize for Excellence in Education

Press Release

OnPoint’s Prize for Excellence in Education recognizes outstanding educators and school projects with cash prizes, including paying the mortgage or rent for three teachers for an entire year.

PORTLAND, Ore., February 22, 2022 — OnPoint Community Credit Union announced today the nomination period is now open for the 2022 OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education. The 13th annual celebration will award up to $150,000 to local educators and schools, including paying the mortgage or rent of three grand-prize-winning educators, $5,000 cash prizes to three runners-up and contributions to the six finalists’ schools. In addition to recognizing outstanding educators, the OnPoint Prize includes the Community Builder Award, which grants four schools $2,000 for innovative school projects, and a fifth school, selected by community votes, will receive $5,000.

“Now more than ever, we recognize the vital role quality education plays in our community,” said OnPoint President and Chief Executive Officer Rob Stuart. “We celebrate the outstanding educators every day and the OnPoint Prize gives us a special opportunity to lift up those who inspire creativity, excitement and curiosity in the classroom, and make a true impact on students, parents, peers and the larger community.”

Anyone can nominate an outstanding educator or apply for a Community Builder Award today by visiting www.onpointprize.com. The nomination period closes at 5:30 p.m. PST on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. OnPoint will announce the Educator of the Year finalists and Community Builder winners on May 10.

This year’s awards include:

  • Educators of the Year
    • Educators of the Year: Three educators, one representing grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12, will each have their mortgage or rent paid for one full year and receive a $2,500 donation to their school for resources and supplies.
    • Runners-up: Three educators, one from grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12, will each receive a $5,000 cash award and an additional $1,500 to their schools for resources and supplies.
  • Community Builder Awards
    • One school, selected by community votes, will receive $5,000 for a project that has positively impacted their school or community.
    • Four additional schools will receive $2,000 for special projects.

2021 Prize Winners

Since 2010, the OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education has awarded more than $562,000 in prizes and supported more than 296 local educators and schools. Last year, OnPoint awarded six teachers and 11 schools with more than $92,000 in cash prizes as part of the 2021 OnPoint Prize for Excellence Awards. See below for details about last year’s Educators of the Year and Community Builder Award winners.

Educators of the Year
Lionel Clegg, a 1st grade teacher at Woodlawn Elementary in the Portland School District, Travis Rooke-Ley, an 8th grade math teacher at Whitford Middle School in the Beaverton School District, and Addie Lyden, Activities Director at Beaverton High School, were named OnPoint’s 2021 Educators of the Year.

Lionel Clegg, the K-5 Educator of the Year, attended Woodlawn Elementary as a child and has taught at the primary level for 24 years. Clegg has served various roles within the school, including leader of Boys of Distinction, a mentoring program he created for boys in grades 3-5, and as an after-school tutor for the SUN School program. He advocates for diversity, equity and inclusion in his classroom, school and community, and has created a culturally-responsive learning environment that allows him to maintain strong relationships with his students.

“Teaching is not my job. It is my purpose. I’m grateful for the opportunity to help shape and change the lives of these children, to help build them into strong adults,” said Clegg. “Winning this award validated the important work we do. We don’t do this for the money; we do it because we truly care about the kids. It’s amazing to know OnPoint has our back and recognizes our role in the community.”

Travis Rooke-Ley, the 6-8 Educator of the Year for 2021, also strives to create a strong and welcoming sense of community in his classroom. He created a peer tutor program with Structured Routine Classroom, which offers a space for neurotypical students to work with others who experience autism, intellectual disabilities and communication disorders. Rooke-Ley honors the varied life experiences of his diverse community of students and often teaches math concepts in the context of real-world applications, such as housing, interest, loans and college tuition, to offer students a better understanding of the importance and relevance of these topics.

Addie Lyden, the 9-12 Educator of the Year for 2021, has been an educator for more than 20 years. After studying systemic racism and achievement gaps, Lyden made it her mission to break down the school’s barriers for students of color, women and LGBTQIA+ students in her lessons. She strives to listen and learn from her students, prioritizing their mental and physical well-being, and offers support to students who are enduring challenges like homelessness, abuse, immigration, legal issues, suicide and mental health challenges. She has worked with other high schools to determine areas of improvement in staff development with regards to racism and discrimination and was asked to serve as the Black Student Union club advisor as a result of her work.

Community Builder Awards
In 2021, OnPoint also gave out five Community Builder Awards to schools for innovative projects that inspire students, foster community, demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and reach a broad segment of the school community.

The $5,000 grand prize, selected by community votes, went to Holy Family Catholic School in Southeast Portland. The award is helping fund speaker engagement, book club materials, art supplies and cooking-class ingredients as part of the school’s diversity, equity and inclusion project, which seeks to foster a safe learning environment and sense of community.

“OnPoint provided our school with a powerful gift,” said Joseph Galati, Principal of Holy Family Catholic School. “Being the recipient of the Community Builder Award has given us the boost to really begin examining and celebrating our diversity and cultural awareness. Collectively, our school has grown so much from this award and provided resources to achieve our first-year goal so that we can continue to propel ourselves in the years to come. I encourage other school groups in our region to apply for the award as it has impacted our community greatly. Thank you, OnPoint!”

Four schools across Oregon received the $2,000 award: Awbrey Park Elementary’s Conscious Discipline Program, Cheldelin Middle School’s Fire and Food Courtyard, Lyle Elementary’s Recess for All and Vern Patrick Elementary’s StoryWalk.

About the Nomination Process

Information about the OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education and how to submit a nomination are now available at www.onpointprize.com. 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 for grades K-12 in an accredited public, private or charter school located within any county that OnPoint serves. OnPoint also accepts applications for the Community Builders Awards within those same counties. For information about the campaign, additional qualifications and contest rules, please visit www.onpointprize.com.

OnPoint Community Credit Union is the largest credit union in Oregon, serving over 465,000 members and with assets of $9.0 billion. Founded in 1932, OnPoint Community Credit Union’s membership is available to anyone who lives or works in one of 28 Oregon counties (Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, Wheeler, 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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