Three Local Teachers Win OnPoint Community Credit Union’s 2021 Prize for Excellence in Education Educator of the Year Award

Press Release

Local educators will have their mortgage or rent paid for one year and receive $2,500 for their school

PORTLAND, Ore., May 27, 2021—OnPoint Community Credit Union has announced the three winners of the 2021 OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education Educator of the Year awards: Lionel Clegg, a 1st grade teacher at Woodlawn Elementary School; Travis Rooke-Ley, an 8th grade math and journalism teacher at Whitford Middle School; and Addie Lyden, a 9-12th grade history and law teacher at Southridge High School. The three Educators of the Year will have their mortgage or rent paid for one full year and receive $2,500 for each of their schools. In addition, the remaining three finalists will receive $5,000 for themselves and $1,500 for each of their schools.

“The Educator of the Year award honors teachers in our community who are innovators in their field and pillars of their community,” said Rob Stuart, President and Chief Executive Officer, OnPoint Community Credit Union. “This year’s nomination process introduced us to teachers who go above and beyond to create inclusive and safe learning environments, while transforming their curriculum and adopting creative ways to engage their students through virtual or hybrid learning. With so many exceptional teachers to choose from this year, we are delighted to honor Lionel, Travis and Addie as the 2021 Educators of the Year.”

Since the OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education began in 2010, OnPoint has awarded more than $470,000 in prizes to 285 local educators and schools thus far. This year’s contest will award up to an additional $100,000 to deserving public and private K-12 teachers and schools.

2021 Educators of the Year

The three winners of the 2021 OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education Educator of the Year awards are:

K-5 Educator of the Year – Lionel Clegg
1st grade, Woodlawn Elementary School, Portland Public Schools, Portland, Ore.

A former Woodlawn Elementary student, Lionel Clegg bases his passion for teaching fellow Wildcats on the importance of a solid educational foundation, leading him to teach at the primary level for 23 years. He challenges his students while supporting and encouraging them at the same time. Lionel’s lessons build critical learners and thinkers while also creating a safe and structured environment for students to learn and grow. Each national heritage or celebration month, his lessons focus on current and historical trailblazers from each specific community. He has developed an original classroom activity entitled “Word Work” that has expanded his first-graders’ vocabulary. Lionel also shares the history of the Northeast Portland neighborhood with students and families through a presentation he created with the Woodlawn Neighborhood Association.

Lionel has served in various roles at Woodlawn Elementary, including an after-school tutor for the Sun School program and the leader of Boys of Distinction, a mentoring program he created for 3-5th grade boys. He advocates for diversity, equity and inclusion within his school and across the greater Portland community through longstanding partnerships with The Black Parent Initiative, Self Enhancement Inc. and the Portland Teach Program Alumni Alliance.

6-8 Educator of the Year – Travis Rooke-Ley
8th grade math, Whitford Middle School, Beaverton School District, Beaverton, Ore.

Travis Rooke-Ley is known for going above and beyond to develop community in his classroom and make all students feel welcome and valued. His unique teaching style often applies real-world situations to math concepts such as housing, interest, loans and college tuition, to give his students a real sense of why these topics matter and how they will impact their future. As a teacher of students with diverse backgrounds, Travis has committed to acknowledging their varied life experiences and building his instruction around them.

Travis created a peer tutor program with Structured Routines Classroom to help bridge the divide between students. This program provides an environment for neurotypical students to work with others who experience autism, intellectual disabilities and communication disorders to foster peer experiences and stronger connections within the school community. Travis also started the school’s online newspaper during the pandemic, which has become an instrumental tool in building community and informing students about global issues and events.

9-12 Educator of the Year – Addie Lyden
9-12th grade history, law and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teacher, Southridge High School, Beaverton School District, Beaverton, Ore.

After more than 20 years of teaching, Addie believes education is more than pushing students to write the perfect essay. It’s about listening to students and learning about them. Addie builds trust with her students by getting to know them and prioritizing their mental and physical well-being with academics. She fosters a classroom environment that creates a safe and open dialogue about world history and how it has impacted underserved communities. Addie created an “Immigrant Voices” board for her students to share anonymous letters about their experiences with immigration and what they think it means to be an American. In addition, she led a community and district-wide discussion featuring Black students entitled “Black Student Voices: Navigating a time of crisis in America,” sparking conversation around the most critical issues Black students face today.

As a teacher on special assignment (TOSA), Addie and a team of teachers from other local high schools analyzed academic achievement data, curricula and school traditions to address the widening achievement gap in her school and across the district. She and her colleagues discovered longstanding racist practices routinely silencing BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, causing some students to fail and others to succeed. Since then, Addie has made it her mission to break down historical barriers to academic achievement. She conducts home visits to encourage chronically absent students to come back to school, participates in book clubs with other educators to discuss critical issues, and restructured her curriculum to give voice to those perspectives and cultures that were previously ignored.

2021 Educator of the Year Finalists

OnPoint will also award a $5,000 cash prize to the following 2021 finalists and make a $1,500 donation to their schools for resources and supplies.

K-5 Finalist – Aarti Kamalahasan
Kindergarten, Sato Elementary School, Beaverton School District, Beaverton, Ore.

6-8 Finalist – Beckie Plaza
6-8th grade science, Lake Oswego Junior High School, Lake Oswego School District, Lake Oswego, Ore.

9-12 Finalist – Desmond Spann
9-10th grade English, Franklin High School, Portland Public Schools, Portland, Ore.

Five Schools Receive Community Builder Awards

In addition to the Educator of the Year awards, the 2021 OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education also awarded five schools across Oregon with one $5,000 and four $2,000 Community Builder grants for special projects that enrich their communities. Click here to read about this year’s winners, which OnPoint announced on May 11, 2021.

A Growing Commitment to Excellence in Education

The OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education is just one element of the credit union’s 89-year commitment to quality education in the region. Since OnPoint was founded in 1932 by 16 school teachers, it has exponentially grown its commitment to students and teachers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Click here to learn more about what OnPoint is doing to ensure students across the community have access to quality education.

OnPoint Community Credit Union is the largest credit union in Oregon, serving over 437,000 members and with assets of $8.3 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 or 503-228-7077 or 800-527-3932.

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