Kevin Topolski does it right—OnPoint Community Credit Union says so. The Ron Russell Middle School teacher recently won OPCCU’s K–8 Oregon Educator of the Year award, one of three teachers honored by the credit union through its Prize for Excellence in Education program, which annually selects outstanding teachers to be honored for their exceptional work. Topolski teaches reading and writing to sixth-graders at Russell, one of several middle schools in the David Douglas School District.
This teacher has an exceptional reputation for being able to reach the minds of his students, which is not an easy task in an era of too-large classes and challenging expectations of today’s teachers. In announcing Topolski’s selection, OPCCU complimented him “for creating an environment of engaged students built on mutual trust, empowerment and critical thinking.”
Topolski’s teaching approach has resulted in significant increases in reading scores for his students. He has also offered training programs in teaching methods that have impressed administrators and other teachers.
The prize includes a $1,000 gift to Ron Russell Middle School “to be used for resources and supplies,” and OPCCU will take on Topolski’s mortgage payments for the 2015–16 school year. Given that teachers are not the highest-paid professionals in this state, the latter must be a pleasant reward for all of Topolski’s hard work.
The Memo salutes and congratulates Kevin Topolski for this achievement and thanks him for his commitment to his students at Ron Russell Middle School. n