Two Inspiring Teachers Win OnPoint Prize Educator of the Year Award


As the COVID-19 crisis transforms and challenges the education system, teachers have worked hard to quickly adopt new ways to teach, support students, and innovate with remote learning.

In honor of this dedication through such unprecedented times, OnPoint Community Credit Union today announced the winners of the 2020 Prize for Excellence in Education Educator of the Year award.

Carol Biskupic Knight, 4th Grade teacher at Sato Elementary in Beaverton and Kerryn Henderson, AP Biology and AVID teacher at Parkrose High School in Portland, will have their mortgages paid for one full year and receive $2,500 for their schools.

“Teachers have had to rapidly adjust to a new normal of teaching online, supporting students and parents remotely, and providing innovative teaching methods and ideas to families,” said Rob Stuart, President and CEO of OnPoint Community Credit Union. “OnPoint thanks the entire education community for their unwavering dedication in such unprecedented times, and we are thrilled to celebrate Carol and Kerryn for sparking passion in students, parents, peers and their community.”

The OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education is an annual award that recognizes outstanding educators throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington for their work to positively impact students, their schools and communities. OnPoint has awarded more than $470,000 in prizes to 285 local educators and schools since launching the campaign 11 years ago.

OnPoint’s grand prize, Educator of the Year, is awarded to two teachers — one who teaches kindergarten through 8th grade and one who teaches 9th through 12th grade. This year’s grand prize winners are:

K–8 Educator of the Year

Carol Biskupic Knight, 4th Grade, Sato Elementary

Carol has been key to changing the way science education is taught in her district and beyond. For the past 40 years, students have walked through the door of Carol’s classroom and are welcomed to a year of discovery where they are treated as professional scientists, technologists, engineers, artists, and mathematicians, taking on new adventures in learning and innovation. She works to build on the natural curiosity in students, giving them the tools to explore and observe the world around them, work effectively with others, and communicate their experiences. Units of study are language-rich, interdisciplinary, and designed to be relevant both locally and globally, in addition to being strategically planned out in order to develop students who solve problems and think critically. Whether they’re solving the energy challenge of a wearable power source without a battery, figuring out how to decrease the erosion on the playground, or identifying what nature’s artifacts are telling us about the impact humans are having on our planet, Carol’s students generate, evaluate and implement solutions to address problems of today and tomorrow. She has also worked to implement Sato’s STEAM night and district K-8 Science Expo, acted as Sato’s STEAM Coordinator, and conducted numerous professional development sessions for preservice and veteran teachers.

9–12 Educator of the Year

Kerryn Henderson, AP Biology and AVID, Parkrose High School

Kerryn built the AP Biology program at Parkrose and has worked tirelessly to make it accessible for the school’s diverse student body and inspire students to pursue careers in the STEM field. As an educator, she pushes her students to take the harder path, choose rigorous classes, strive for high grades, and take academic risks. In her classroom, failure is celebrated as an opportunity for growth. Unlike most AP teachers, Kerry doesn’t lecture — instead, students explore concepts through simulations, games, song writing, modeling, role-play and Socratic discussions. Through this method of teaching, science becomes non-threatening, friendly, relevant, and thrilling. In her AVID classes, Kerryn works with future first generation college students to help them see the possibility of their dreams and how to reach them. As a leader at the school, Kerryn pioneered the use of assessment data to design and refine instruction, and guided changes in grading practices across the school and district. She also acts as the MESA Lead Teacher and AVID site coordinator, and leads the Middle and High School Science Departments through professional development sessions focusing on inquiry, equity, and innovation.

Educator of the Year Finalists

OnPoint will award a $5,000 cash prize to the following 2020 finalists and make a $1,500 donation to their schools for resources and supplies:

K–8 Finalist

Ali Herron, Kindergarten, Marysville Elementary School, Portland Public Schools

9–12 Finalist

Matt Sten, Modern World History and Government/Economics, Cleveland High School, Portland Public Schools

Circle of Excellence

Six additional teachers were named earlier this month to OnPoint’s Circle of Excellence. These educators will each receive a $1,500 cash prize and $1,000 donation to their school:

  • Alfonso Garcia Arriola, 7th & 8th Grade Science, ACCESS Academy, Portland Public Schools
  • Jesse Gardner, Career and College Exploration and Hip-Hop Literature, Madison High School, Portland Public Schools
  • Janelle Jackson, Alternative Education, Dayton High School, Dayton School District
  • Hillary Marshall, Library Media Specialist, Washougal High School, Washougal School District
  • Pauline Pham, Special Education and English, Springfield High School, Springfield Public Schools
  • Erika Pollock, 1st Grade, Lake Grove Elementary, Lake Oswego School District

2020 Community Builder Award Recipients

OnPoint previously announced four recipients of their Community Builder awards. These schools will receive $2,000 for a special project:

  • Atkinson Elementary’s Gardening and Cultural Cooking Project, which will provides K-5th grade classes with two garden work parties each year in the school’s community garden.
  • Clear Creek Middle School’s The Tomorrow Bus, a mobile STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) classroom that encourages K-8th grade students to create, collaborate, and innovate using hands-on learning materials.
  • Sandy High School’s Pioneer Digital Media Broadcasting program, a live multi-camera broadcast that covers sports, news and events from the Sandy High School campus.
  • Sifton Elementary’s After School Club, a free program for families designed to provide extra academic support and extracurricular activities.

In addition, Grout Elementary School was selected by community votes, and will receive $5,000 for their Ground Improvement Project. Click here to learn the impact the Community Builder award had on last year’s winner, Bridger Elementary.

Posted in Member News.