Pictured from left to right: Rob Stuart, President/CEO OnPoint Community Credit Union; Kevin Topolski, K-8 Educator of the Year from Ron Russell Middle School; Eric Smedsrud, 9-12 Educator of the Year from Mountain View High School; Joe Donlon, KGW NewsChannel 8.
Photo by: Alan Weiner Photography
On May 19, 2015, OnPoint Credit Union announced that Kevin Topolski won the OnPoint Excellence in Education Award. This award recognizes one K-8 teacher and one 9-12 teacher as Educators of the Year. Any full-time or job-share classroom teacher, counselor, or librarian of grades K-8 or 9-12 who is employed by a public, private or charter school in the counties of Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon, and Clark and Skamania counties in Washington is eligible for the award. Kevin is a 6th grade Reading and Writing teacher at Ron Russell Middle School. The award was presented live on KGW 8 on Live @ 7.
Kevin’s hard work brings $1,000 to Ron Russell and, get this, 9 months of his mortgage…paid!
Kevin was nominated by Belle Koskela, our district’s Academic Language Coach and former Ron Russell teacher. There were hundreds of nominees and each teacher was judged using a criteria based on how the teacher inspires creativity and enthusiasm in the classroom, demonstrates exemplary teaching methods and style, and has had a significant impact on students, parents, and peers. Kevin has done all of these things and more for the students and staff at Ron Russell.
Kevin is a district Constructing Meaning Key Trainer, has hosted multiple Lab Classrooms this year where David Douglas teachers visit his classroom and reflect on effective strategies that engage students, and is an active member of Ron Russell’s Instructional Improvement Team. Kevin is the type of teacher that is constantly striving to improve. He focuses his energy on what he “can do” with his students. He starts teaching right at the bell and guides his students in unpacking his Learning Target. He prides himself on treating his 6th graders with respect, carefully getting to know his students and building on their strengths, and engaging them in reading, writing, and speaking using academic vocabulary throughout the entire class period. Kevin is humorous and kind, but when you’re in his room, you can feel that he is “all business” about learning.
“Kevin Topolski’s classroom stands out as exceptionally vibrant, innovative, and inspiring. Kevin teaches in Multnomah County’s lowest income middle school, but you wouldn’t know that if you visited his room. You would find yourself surrounded by young leaders engaged in critical thinking, challenging problem solving and collaborative discourse.”