2019 Teacher of the Year:
Keri Pilgrim Ricker
Keri Pilgrim Ricker has enjoyed a 10-year career in public education teaching all levels of biological sciences. Guided by a quote by Maya Angelou, “In diversity there is beauty and there is strength,” her courses are designed to highlight the importance of not only biological diversity, but diversity of thought, people, ideas, and narratives.
Pilgrim Ricker has contributed to the rollout of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as a coauthor of the COSA iTUNES project, creating a state standard to NGSS crosswalk with resources and tools to support developing science teachers. In 2014, Pilgrim Ricker focused on Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming as an inroad to promote more diverse and equitable representation in STEM. She received her endorsement in CTE Health Services and began to redesign courses in Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology, and Health Occupations to engage and provide access to underserved and underrepresented populations.
Her work with students and her Equity Leadership Team identified barriers to student enrollment, participation, and success in STEM and CTE. She has presented her findings at conferences and created school initiatives that increased enrollment and success of students of color and of “at risk” populations. She has worked to create a collaborative network of healthcare professionals, non-profits, families, and post-secondary institutions to create complex and realistic healthcare simulation units designed to target student career interests and facilitates the connection of each student with a professional mentor in their chosen field.
Pilgrim Ricker currently leads Churchill High School's Health Services Pathway in Eugene, Oregon. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Biology and Animal Science from California State Unversity, a Master of Science in Ecology and Evolution from Purdue University, and a Master of Science in Education from Oregon State University.