Ashwood Teacher Named Regional Teacher of the Year

Ashwood Teacher Melanie Friend Named Regional Teacher of the Year 

Candidate for 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year 

May 21, 2020 – Ashwood & Madras, OR - The pivotal role of teachers has become especially evident in these last several months as schools have transitioned to distance learning in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers have stepped up in countless, innovative ways to ensure students are safe, healthy and engaged to reach their full potential, making this a fitting opportunity to recognize the excellence of Regional Teachers of Year throughout the state! 

Ashwood School District 8, Head Teacher Melanie Friend was named Jefferson County’s 2021 Regional Teacher of the Year! Melanie wins a $500 cash prize and is in the running for Oregon’s 2021 Teacher of the Year – to be announced this fall. 

ESD Superintendent Parshall said, “Melanie teaches students in grades kindergarten through 5th grade while creatively confronting the challenges of a rural community was much of the reasoning behind her being selected by the JCESD Blue Ribbon Panel. Her thorough application packet, coupled with her community driven passion and positive attitude are additional reasons she ranked highly. The Jefferson County ESD is pleased to have a teacher of Melanie’s caliber representing our region”. 

Regional Teachers of the Year are nominated by students, colleagues, administrators, friends or family members to apply for the award, and are selected by a diverse panel of regional representatives. Later this fall one of the Regional Teachers of the Year will be named the 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year. 

Thanks to the Oregon Department of Education’s partnership with the Oregon Lottery, the 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year receives a $5,000 cash prize (with a matching $5,000 going to their school!) and serves as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers. Three finalists will receive $2,000 with a matching $2,000 going to their school. Please visit for more information.