THE Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, California lauded Filipino-American high-school teacher Ethelyn Tumalad as she was named “Teacher of the Year” by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE).

“It is with great pride and joy that [we congratulate] Tumalad—a Language Arts and Advancement Via Individual Determination [AVID] teacher at Clackamas High School—for being awarded as Oregon’s 2022 Teacher of the Year,” Philippine Consul General Neil Frank R. Ferrer said during World Teachers’ Day on October 5. “She now joins a distinguished group of 62 other Oregonian educators who have received the award since it was first introduced in 1955.”

Ferrer added: “Ms. Tumalad’s award is yet another recognition of the invaluable contribution of [Fil-Am] teachers in shaping future generations of Americans. Her innate ability to empathically connect with her students is unmistakably Filipino: pakikipagkapwa-tao [interpersonal skills, and I am glad…she] remains deeply rooted to her Filipino heritage.”

Governor Katherine Brown of the State of Oregon praised Tumalad in a video message played during the awarding: “Inside and outside…the classroom, Ethelyn is a strong advocate, a wonderful listener, [as well as] an empathetic colleague, teacher and friend. Educators like [her are the shining stars needed by] our students.”

According to the ODE, Tumalad is a first-generation Filipino-American who migrated to the United States with her family when she was only five years old. As a Language Arts and AVID educator, she leans into her Filipino identity to support her students in finding their own voices, “recognizing the beauty of their diversity and being unapologetically themselves.”

Guided by her own experience as a migrant educator, Tumalad serves as advisor for the Asian Pacific Islander Student Union at Clackamas High School, and co-leads her school’s Black, Indigenous, People of Color staff affinity group.

“I’ve seen the importance of having positive role models of color; therefore, it is [key] that students…see their advisors work together to build bridges among each other’s marginalized identities,” Tumalad said. “As an educator who always wants to ensure that students become change agents in the classroom, I lead [them] with empathy, and truly believe that modeling is the best form of education.”

As Oregon’s “Teacher of the Year,” Tumalad received a $10,000 cash reward from the Oregon Lottery and Clackamas High School, and a year-long professional development and networking with other outstanding educators across the US under the Chief Council of State School Officers’ National Teacher of the Year program.

The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco has consular jurisdiction over the State of Oregon.

Image courtesy of SFPCG/DFA

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