The many area educators gathered at the Windemere Hotel and Conference Center on Friday night may know the newly anointed 2011 Cochise County Teacher of the Year as Jeffrey Ofstedahl, but his students simply call him, “Mr. Oh!”
Melissa Marshall/Wick News Service County School Superintendent Trudy Berry presents C.A.S teacher Jeffrey Ofstedahl with the Teacher of the Year award on Friday at the Windemere Hotel and Conference Center.
“They inspired me to care and to learn and to be hungry for knowledge. They kind of drove me down that path of science,” Ofstedahl said.
When he heard his name announced, Ofstedahl was shocked, very shocked.
“To me, I’m just doing what makes sense in the classroom,” he said. “I think learning is intuitive and I think every teacher out there that’s creating that spark for learning and inspiring those kids to be lifelong learners, I think they’re all teachers of the year.”
He also credits the great team of teachers at CAS and the adminstration that supports every possible chance they have to motivate students, Ofstedahl said. Every teacher knows the longs hours and days that go with the job. He values his family for putting up with all his after-school activities and even the weekends he goes to school, because their support is part of his success.
“I think learning should be fun and it’s fun to be a part of that learning,” Ofstedahl said. He really does live for those moments when he can see the kids going, “Ooooh!” as that proverbial lightbulb flashes in their eyes.
“Mr Oh! strikes again,” he laughed. More then anything, he wakes up every morning excited to go to work because of the kids filling those seats.
“The students themselves, they’re really my inspiration because they inspire me everyday to be a better teacher for them,” Ofstedahl said.
This was the second year that the Cochise Education Foundation co-sponsored the event with the county school superintendent’s office. The foundation is dedicated to recruiting, rewarding and recognizing teachers throughout Cochise County.
Sierra Vista area schools did very well overall as the night’s winners all came from local schools. These include: Col. Johnston Elementary School, Valley View Elementary School, the Center for Academic Success, Coronado Elementary School and Buena High School. Hailing from nearby Palominas, Valley View and Coronado are the only schools located outside of Sierra Vista.
Prior to the awards, last year’s Cochise County Teacher of the Year, Laurie Davis, from Valley Union High School, spoke about the critical role that support from her colleagues and mentors played in her journey to become an excellent teacher. She also had a word of advice for this year’s winner.
Davis admitted in jest that even though she is sad to lose her title, her administration is likely heaving a sigh of relief.
“Apparently, a person can only play the teacher of the year card for so long,” Davis said.
That is a lesson “Mr. Oh!” has a whole year to learn.
Award nominees from Douglas area
Special Project of the year
• “Technology Integration,” Kevin Alvarado, Patricia Ferree, Maira Gonzales, Corinna Monje, Mark Ruiz, and Rebecca Saspe from Joe Carlson Elementary School.
• Megan Schepp, McNeal Elementary School.
• Martha Paun, Clawson Elementary School.
• Karen Troncale, Pomerene Elementary School.
• Lisha Davis, Elfrida Elementary School.
• Lucila Fernandez, Ray Borane Middle School.
• Sarah Graham, Valley Union High School.
• Susan Molina, Douglas High School.