The Oregon Department of Education has announced that PSU special education graduate, Brett Bigham, MS ’02, a transition teacher, is the 2014 Oregon Teacher of the Year. Mr. Bigham works for the Multnomah Education Service District (MESD) Transition Services program.
“Brett is a fierce advocate, a dedicated educator, and above all an incredibly caring and committed individual,” said Oregon’s Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton. “I am honored to have this opportunity to recognize him for his outstanding service to our students and our state.”
Transition teachers work with youth aged 17-21 who have graduated high school on a modified diploma and continue to receive services by school districts and ESDs. Components of transition programs include life skills instruction, social skills, vocational training, and recreational opportunities.
At the MESD, he organized a prom at Skate World in Gresham for students with special needs—some participating in their first school dance. To help defray the cost of the event he acquired a $5,000 community service grant from Bank of America. The prom has become so popular, that it attracts students from across the region.
Brett Bigham has recently been featured for his work in the Oregonian and in an online blog called Autism Light for his work in the MESD transition program. Mr. Bigham was also a finalist in 2010 for the OnPoint Excellence in Education Award.
As Oregon’s Teacher of the Year, he will receive a cash award and attend the National Teacher of the Year event in Washington, DC, where he will meet Education Secretary Arne Duncan and President Obama. His selection as Oregon Teacher of the Year means he is also eligible for National Teacher of the Year.
Brett Bigham is PSU’s second Oregon Teacher of the Year in recent years. First grade teacher and math author, Jackie Cooke, received state honors in 2007.
ODE Press release