Episode 19: An Interview with Nicole Butler-Hooton (2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year)

“My mission is to create an environment where all students feel they belong. I will continue my efforts each day to be an educator who makes a difference for equity and social justice.” Nicole Butler-Hooton

Episode 19 features one of the kindest, most selfless, talented, and foreword thinking educators in our country, Nicole Butler-Hooton. 

In 2021 he earned the most prestigious award of Oregon Teacher of the Year. Nicole is a much-loved 2nd Grade Teacher at Irving Elementary School in Eugene, Oregon with over 14 years of experience in the classroom. 

Nicole is doing so much to advance thinking in Oregon and beyond on equity as it relates to anti-colonial education. As an indigenous woman herself, she is investing a lot of time and energy into supporting other indigenous educators around the country. 

Furthermore, Nicole has become an amazing sounding board for many folks (including myself) and quite frankly has become a friend throughout this whole process of interviewing and releasing this episode.

Episode Highlight Quotes:

“Thinking about the framework for anti-racist or anti-bias education…that is something that is a passion of mine.”

“Knowing our students is more than just teaching what’s in the book. In order to teach, we have to know our students….our students are our framework for teaching.”

“Being an unconventional teacher means, to me, teaching with your heart and finding where your joy is, and where your passion is.”

“Being vulnerable and open minded with this profession can really go the extra mile for parents and students.”

“Another thing that I think is really important in our work that we’re doing is to know that we’re not the expert at all things. And it’s ok to showcase that to our students. It’s ok to ask for help.”

“Not all opinions are equal. Some opinions are oppressive.”

Links to Nicole’s Projects/Groups Affiliations:

Sapsik’ʷałá Teacher Education Program

Oregon Indian Education Association

University of Oregon Elementary Education, Western Regional Educator’s Network (WREN) Affinity Planning Team

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Nicole Butler-Hooton - Oregon 2021 Teacher of the Year

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