2018-19 Educators of the Year/Educadores del Año

Hermiston High School

Maureen Crossley

Mrs. Maureen Crossley is a Business Teacher at HHS and has been a district employee for thirty-two years. She is a true professional in her craft. She dedicates hours before and after school to provide opportunities for her students to learn and grow. One only needs to step in her classroom, on any given day, to see quality-teaching take place. There is no question that her students are prepared upon leaving her class.
She is a go-to colleague and leader in the business department, as well as an instructor for Blue Mountain Community College.


John Fisher

Mr. John Fisher is the Engineering and Robotics Teacher at HHS and has been a district employee for three years. He goes above and beyond to inspire students in the discipline of engineering. They are encouraged to take risks in the classroom, which in turn, fosters curiosity and higher-level thinking. Mr. Fisher effectively uses instructional strategies; he collaborates well with his peers, and his work ethic is impeccable. He spends countless hours improving his skills in architectural design, 3D printing and laser engraving.


Armand Larive Middle School

Cori Applegate

Mrs. Cori Applegate has been a district employee for thirty-three years and currently teaches language arts. Mrs. Applegate is dedicated to the students’ learning and well-being; she asks questions and shows interest in their lives, encouraging them in their extracurricular activities. She is a supportive mentor and a good resource in advisory meetings. Her ability to be a great listener allows her to offer valuable suggestions for successful resolutions. She often works behind the scenes to ensure projects run as smoothly as possible, and she gives 150% to achieve greater outcomes.


Sandstone Middle School

LouAnne Patterson

Mrs. LouAnne Patterson is a seventeen-year district employee and special education teacher. She inspires her students on a daily basis; she praises and values them as learners and as people. When students struggle, she focuses on their strengths, reminds them that success is possible, and is quick to implement strategies to help them learn. When her students achieve success, she celebrates their accomplishments and growth. Mrs. Patterson builds rapport with her students and keeps in touch with them long after they have left Sandstone. She is a strong "out of the box" thinker, who is a great resource for staff because of her knowledge base and special education background.

Desert View Elementary School

Darci Wellsandt

Ms. Darci Wellsandt is a fourth-grade teacher, and she has been a district employee for thirteen years. Ms. Wellsandt is an individual that creates inspiring relationships with students. As a staff member, she is a team player who is wonderful to work with. She advocates and collaborates with DV staff and others across the district. She possesses a wealth of resources; being a master of all things Google, she is constantly innovating her ideas to develop real-world applications and help connect school content to her students.


Highland Hills Elementary School

Brittany Mustoe

Ms. Brittany Mustoe is a fifth-grade teacher at Highland Hills. She has been a district employee for three years. Inspiring, engaging, student-centered and motivating are a few words that describe Ms. Mustoe to a T. She has an amazing skill set and work ethic. Her desire for efficiency shows in the classroom and as a teammate.

A fellow Highland Hills's staff stated, “Ms. Mustoe is a team player who collaborates with others and is an all-around great human who loves her students."


Rocky Heights Elementary School

Laurel Woodward

Mrs. Laurel Woodward is an English Language Development teacher and a twenty-four-year district employee. She is a very dedicated teacher, who gives her very best each day and always puts her students first. She has built lasting relationships with teachers and students; is positive, knowledgeable, and driven to help students grow; and provides support to new teachers in and out of Rocky.

In part due to the efforts of Mrs. Woodward, Rocky has the highest percentage of students meeting proficiency on the ELPA 21 as well as the highest number of students on track for EL proficiency in any K-5 building in Eastern Oregon.

Sunset Elementary School

Kim Sexton

Ms. Kim Sexton is a fourth-grade teacher, who has been a district employee for seven years. She is a stellar teacher, a wonderful teammate, and an amazing person! She ensures that each student who walks into her classroom is cared for and loved. Ask her about her One Direction poster or the Secret Spider-man Society and she can tell you some amazing kids that love her.

The students in Ms. Sexton’s class are always well taught. She works well with all specialists in the building, has a solid ethic, and does whatever it takes to help her students.

West Park Elementary School

Marci Wattenburger

Mrs. Marci Wattenburger is a first-grade teacher and twelve-year district employee. She takes the time to celebrate her students’ unique abilities, both academically and socially. She takes the time to connect with her students and goes above and beyond to meet their specific needs. Mrs. Wattenburger is exemplary in the realm of collaboration and is passionate about her job as an educator.



Amber Utter

Mrs. Amber Utter is an instructional coach, who has been with the district for eleven years. Previously a sixth grade teacher at Sandstone Middle School, Utter had great success implementing the district's instructional tools and protocols with her students, making her a strong candidate to fill the role as an instructional coach. Mrs. Utter now supports classroom teachers and provides group and one-on-one training in district-adopted programs. She is a district trainer in both constructive meaning and explicit instruction. Mrs. Utter has the skills to mentor and support first year teachers and assists teachers and administrators in the use of iReady data. Her eagerness to help is appreciated by all who work closely with her.