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A3 educator honored with award, dance party

SPRINGFIELD – Teachers are integral parts of society, and unfortunately, it’s usually a thankless job. Last week however, one Springfield teacher, Scott Crowell, was recognized after winning the Regional Teacher of the Year Award. 

Each year the Oregon Department of Education partners with the Oregon Lottery to recognize the work of one outstanding local teacher from each county. In addition to the title, winners are awarded a check for $1,000. 


PHOTOS BY LILLIAN STAFFORD / THE CHRONICLE
Regional Teacher of the Year, Scott Crowell, enjoys a celebratory dance party in his honor in the A3 parking lot on Sept. 16.

Crowell teaches humanities, creative writing, and literature at the Academy of Arts and Academics. Crowell has been an educator for over 25 years and says he views teaching not as a job, but rather, a “vocation.” Crowell said he has made it his mission to create a school that is also a community. 

On Sept. 16, the school students and staff gathered in a special surprise assembly to share their gratitude for his hard work. In his honor, the entire school gave a rousing rendition of “Yellow Submarine,” a classic of the Beatles, and one of his personal favorites. The assembly was followed by a dance party in the school’s parking lot. 

Students say Crowell is beloved for his unique teaching and engaging classes, like former student, Skyleigh McKibben, who described him as “passionate, passionate, passionate. He really puts his all into teaching, so much of his personal time, energy, and resources. He won’t let anyone limit him … If you have ever seen his classroom when he is teaching about the ‘60s you know what I’m talking about.”  

The nomination came by way of A3 principal Ame Beard, who outlined his dedication to his students – both inside and outside of the classroom – and his quick adaptation to teaching virtually during the pandemic. 

When the school was shut down in early 2020 and school transitioned to distance learning. Crowell saw students disengaging from school work. “Faces were replaced by icons, the usual classroom banter was replaced with chilling silence,” he said. “I was never sure what students – if any – were actually engaged in work.” 

To keep students interested in the World War I curriculum he dug a realistic war trench in his backyard. He sent art supplies to students’ homes and regularly met with them one on one to keep them on track academically as well as ensure they were OK mentally. 

“A3 would not be what it is today without his guidance, his commitment to us, to our students and to our community,” said A3 founder, Nissie Ellison. “I would not be half the teacher I am today if it hadn’t been for Scott.” 

Crowell said he has made it a priority to “see his students as a whole.” He cares not only that they are succeeding in school but that they are flourishing in all aspects of their lives. 

“Without A3 and the ability to teach the way that I teach this wouldn’t have happened,” Crowell said. “A3 has given me the platform to build a school that’s more than a school – it’s a community. That’s what this is, that’s the celebration. While I’m the one that got the check, it couldn’t have happened without the supporting cast.”