The Umpqua Post May 22, 2019 Updated Jun 29, 2019
REEDSPORT — Susie Chaney was met with an auditorium full of applause Thursday as she accepted the award for the South Coast’s Regional Teacher of the Year. The Reedsport Community Charter School math teacher is now in the running for Oregon’s 2020 Teacher of the Year along with 13 others. Superintendent Jon Zwemke asked the room full of high schoolers if they had been positively impacted by Chaney. Hands in the packed auditorium went up. The regional award is nominated by students, faculty and friends, and selected by a panel of regional representatives. Winners receive a $500 cash prize. Principal Jerry Uhling said, “Susie Chaney’s license says that she teaches math, but in reality she teaches kids. She is dedicated to making sure that each one of them gets her absolute best every time.” One of the students in the audience yelled, “She’s going to cry.” Chaney nodded, already tearing up. “I am extremely humbled by this, so thank you for being who you are because I don’t do what I do for anybody but you guys,” Chaney said. Chaney stood on stage next to a poster with the words “Teacher of the Year,” while students and teachers snapped photos of the moment. “I hope and honestly I pray that each of you… can find a profession or a job that you love as much as I love being with you guys,” Chaney, who was born and raised in Reedsport, said. Sandy Donnelly, a counselor at Reedsport Community Charter School, said a Reedsport teacher hasn’t won the award since the 1970’s. The Oregon 2020 Teacher of the Year will receive a $5,000 cash prize, with an additional $5,000 going to the school. That award will be announced in September.