Addie Lyden has been a teacher for 24 years, with 22 of those spent at Southridge High School in Beaverton.
Lyden teaches history, social studies and law. “I think anybody who loves their jobs would say it's the kids,” Lyden said.
“The one word to describe Addie Lyden: inclusive," said Principal David Nieslanik. "She's fantastic at her job."
Lyden begins class each day with a question for her students.
"I try to always ask students how they're doing, what's going on in their life," Lyden said. "Students love to talk, and they will talk when asked. So many of them would say they're never asked how they are."
Lyden serves as an advisor of the Black Student Union at the school, and is known for pushing for equity, diversity and social justice in education and beyond.
“It's been a really intense, hard year for our black students and black community,” she said. "So, providing them a space to talk to each other and support each other has been really key.”
“She cares about kids and it's all about making sure they're included and part of a community,” said Nieslanik, who's known Lyden for years.
These are just some of the reasons why OnPoint Community Credit Union selected Lyden as the Educator of the Year for the high school category. OnPoint employees surprised Lyden in her classroom with the news that her mortgage ore rent would be paid for an entire year.
“Addie is an amazing educator," said Rob Stuart, OnPoint President and CEO. "Her ability to bring the classroom together on real issues is incredible. And that is exactly why she is our Educator of the Year."
“It's been a roller coaster of a ride this past year," Lyden said. "To be appreciated as a teacher, and I think this is about more than just me, it's about the appreciation of teachers as a whole. I think that's huge. I appreciate OnPoint for it. It's been a day that I will never forget in my life."
Lyden will move into a new role as Activities Director at Southridge High School in the fall. She plans to finish out her career at the school.
“It's a home to me. It's my family. You'll find me right here in this classroom or somewhere close by. This room is home,” Lyden said.
This is the 12th year OnPoint has honored teachers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. There is one OnPoint Prize Educator of the Year as well as one finalist in each K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 category.
Southridge High School will receive $2,500 as part of the honor. Finalists will also receive a $5,000 cash prize and a $1,500 donation to their schools.
About the OnPoint Prize Educator of the Year Award:
The OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education celebrates innovative teaching methods that spark enthusiasm and passion in students, parents, and their community. Anyone—including teachers themselves—can nominate a teacher. Educator of the Year is awarded to the teachers who best meet these criteria: Creativity and Enthusiasm, Teaching Methods, Community Impact and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.