Wallowa teacher helping shape state education policies

Kathleen Ellyn/Chieftain Sixth-grade teacher Annette Moeller of Wallowa serves on the State Teacher Advisory Board, which reports to the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

A sixth-grade teacher at Wallowa Elementary School is changing the way the state’s deputy superintendent of public instruction thinks.

Annette Moeller, who teaches at Wallowa Elementary, has joined a group of about 20 to 25 teachers, administrators, coaches and curriculum advisers who meet to improve the graduation rate for students across the state. They report to Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor.

Moeller said only four members of the State Teacher Advising Board are from the east side — Moeller and one each from Hermiston, Baker and Vale.

Nevertheless, Moeller said, “We all have the same common vision. I feel re-energized when I get out of these meetings. Also, Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor is really hearing what we’re saying.”

The group is working on initiatives and policies being recommended or implemented by the Oregon Department of Education. They break proposals down and discuss how they might actually work “in the trenches.” By the end of their service (two years) they will have a written report that makes recommendations for changes.

“We look at how these policies work in big schools and little schools or if they work at all,” Moeller said. “We’re brainstorming on how to make things better.”

Wallowa Superintendent Bret Uptmor heard about the board and asked his teachers if anyone was willing to take on the challenge. Moeller thought about it and decided it was an opportunity.

“One of the purposes of the board was to go to the source and learn what really works,” she said. “The Oregon Department of Education decided to get feedback and expertise on how best to support educators and students.”

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