This Year's Amazing Educator

Aaron Gapasin, an Eighth-Grade Teacher at Chehalem Valley Middle School, was announced as the winner of Pamplin Media Group’s (PMG) Amazing Educator Award on March 20.


The PMG newspaper group, which includes The Newberg Graphic, gives the annual award to one teacher in each of the 25 communities it covers. To be eligible, an educator can work or volunteer at any public or private school, community college, or university in the area.


Gapasin, who has taught at CVMS for nine years, said that the beauty of the honor is it made him reflect on why he is a teacher and what he loves about his work.


"We're providing a place of safety and structure where they can question and challenge us," he said. "I want kids to feel respected. For me, it's important to provide a place that's fair. They're all going to get the same care and respect."


He said leading a classroom is all about making students feel welcome and giving them fresh opportunities to exercise their imaginations. For example, he teaches Humanities, a classic language arts and history combo, but he also launched a Star Wars Elective, which inspires students to read and learn through the many incredible offerings in the specific sci-fi genre. That’s cool enough on its own, but he gets creative with it. He recently let his Star Wars students test out Doodle Notes, a digital note-taking platform that offers tools to engage students, assisting them with focus and memory-building.


Gapasin is amazing, and the reason he won is that a colleague, Teacher Anna Millage, noticed his hard work and ingenuity and nominated him.


I'm honored," he said. "I don't do well with the Spotlight."


But Millage would say that he deserves it.


“Aaron Gapasin goes to so much effort to provide a safe and engaging learning environment for all of his students," Millage said in a comment highlighted in a story in The Newberg Graphic. "In the humanities classroom, he creates lessons for all students, including making extra materials and different lessons for students with different abilities. When I co-taught with him the year before, we had three different lesson plans for one class to meet student needs; the lesson plan for most students, the lesson plan for our almost exclusively Spanish-speaking student, and the lesson plan for our SPED kids with severe needs. We were then able to lead lessons in a co-taught classroom with extra support.”


CVMS Assistant Principal Roger Lorenzen called Gapasin an exceptional teacher.

"First of all, it's an honor to work with Aaron,” Lorenzen said. “He is a wonderful role model for our students and an inspiration to our colleagues. His actions speak volumes about him — forgiving, inspiring, trustful, and thoughtful. Aaron's commitment to our students and to their families runs deep — one who shows up, every day, with unsurpassed authenticity."


CVMS Principal Andy DeBois echoed Lorenzen’s assessment.

"Everything Roger stated is exactly who Aaron is,” DeBois said. “We love having him in our building!"


Check out the story on this Amazing Educator in The Newberg Graphic: