PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Nellie Muir Elementary school teacher Rosa Floyd was named Oregon’s 2023 “Teacher of the Year” by the Oregon Department of Education on Sept. 16.

Following the announcement, Gov. Kate Brown and Woodburn School District Superintendent Joe Morelock praised Floyd for her 28 years as an educator, including her 22 years as a kindergarten teacher at Nellie Muir Elementary.

“Rosa’s passion for culture and creativity can be seen in her dedication to her students and their families, and the way she connects her classroom with the community around her,” Brown said. “Woodburn, and all of Oregon, is lucky to have Rosa in the classroom, inspiring and enriching her students every day.”

Floyd was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she received a diploma in folkloric dance and a graduate degree in architecture and interior design from the University of Guadalajara. She continued her academic career in Spain, where she studied Spanish and worked in the audiovisual department at the Universidad de Guadalajara. While working for the university, she designed secondary instructional materials for a state educational program.

Floyd began her U.S. teaching career in Oregon, as an instructional assistant at a migrant summer school and high school in Hillsboro. Working with these Spanish-speaking students inspired Floyd to obtain her teaching license and become a full-time educator.

“One of my fundamental beliefs about teaching is that it has the power to create unity within a family, classroom, school, and community,” Floyd wrote in her Teacher of the Year application. “We always want to learn more about the culture of our students and their families and for them to realize the great impact that families have in this community. This learning and appreciation for different cultures and traditions will help our students to live with and understand other people.”

The Teacher of the Year honor also includes a $10,000 cash prize, which will be awarded to Floyd by the Oregon Department of Education through its partnership with the Oregon Lottery. Nellie Muir Elementary School will also receive $5,000.

As Teacher of the Year, Floyd will serve as a yearlong representative for Oregon teachers. She will also have the opportunity to network with other Teacher of the Year award winners throughout the country, through the Chief Council of State School Officers’ National Teacher of the Year program.