In the parking lot of the Academy of Arts and Academics, students and staff serenade humanities teacher Scott Crowell.
Crowell dances along while the school sings “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles − an homage to one of Crowell’s courses, “Voices of the 60s.”
The celebration was in honor of Crowell being named Lane Education Service District’s 2023 Regional Teacher of the Year. He received a $1,000 check from Lane ESD.
Crowell, a teacher for more than 25 years, has been teaching humanities at A3 for 14 years.
“They invited a couple of former students to come and talk, and those kids told me, ‘I was so honored that they asked me to come and talk about you,'” Crowell said, recalling that he held back tears. “It was just pure emotion and all I felt was love.”
Crowell said he always knew that he was a good, attentive teacher, but having an explicit show of gratitude from students was touching.
“It was really nice how many of the kids came up and were just like, ‘Congratulations,'” Crowell said. “They were just so, so ecstatic that one of their teachers was being recognized.”
Becoming Teacher of the Year
Crowell didn’t dream of being a teacher when he was young, but he’s always had a passion for learning.
After earning degrees in English and history, he began teaching in public schools, including Lebanon Community Schools. Through an acquaintance, he learned about an open position at A3, a non-traditional, arts-focused four-year high school in Springfield Public Schools. The acquaintance knew Crowell’s teaching methods would be a perfect fit for the school.
Since then, Crowell has taken initiative to make his class a safe, creative space for his students to learn.
Crowell was initially nominated for Teacher of the Year by A3 Principal Ame Beard in 2021. But because of the hectic school year post-pandemic, he wanted to focus on his teaching rather than writing essays to acknowledge his nomination.
This year, Beard again nominated Crowell. He was ready to commit.
“Scott eats, sleeps and dreams instruction and curriculum and is always considering ways to create engaging community-building lessons for our school,” Beard wrote in her nomination letter. “He is inspiring. He is powerful. He makes a difference. He creates memories. This is Scott.”
Beard referenced some of Crowell’s recent projects that he involved students in, including civil rights curriculum aimed at empowering students of color and a Springfield downtown clean-up effort.
Much of Crowell’s instruction is based around equity and community. Crowell said he wants to teach students lessons they can take outside of the classroom.
“It’s important for them to understand that they’re part of something bigger than just themselves,” Crowell said. “I think it’s really easy to get wrapped up in just ourselves and think that the world revolves around us. But you know, the older you get, the more you realize that that is just not true.”
He wants to teach students their actions have direct effects on the community around them, and those effects can be beneficial.
“We can do something as an individual, but then we can do something with a school, we can do something as a community,” Crowell said. “It’s a ripple effect, and (it’s) getting them to be able to kind of change their perspective.”
Apart from his humanities instruction, Crowell also is on the school’s Leadership and Accreditation team. He is also responsible for designing the all-school curriculum for the A3 advisory class.
Crowell said there are several teachers at A3 who are equally worthy of a nomination and award of Teacher of the Year. He said he is honored to represent the school and shine a light on A3.
What’s next for Crowell?
Crowell was one of 16 teachers nominated for the state title of 2023 Teacher of the Year. The results will be posted in the coming weeks.
The state winner receives $10,000 for themselves, $5,000 for their school and funds to cover travel costs for the year to participate in workshops, conferences and events to inspire other teachers in the state.
Crowell said he is just happy to have been nominated.
“(I had) the Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame,” Crowell said. “It’s a nice thing, but ultimately, whether I won that award or not, wasn’t really going to change who I am in my class. I do what I do because I love it.”
Crowell said he was inspired growing up by his dad, who didn’t make an abundant salary but loved what he did. He recalled that his father would turn down promotions.
“That really made, obviously, a…
News Read More: A3’s Scott Crowell named Lane County Teacher of the Year