>   Thirty-five years.
   That's how long it has been since an Oregon educator has been named the National Teacher of the Year.
   Now Crook County Middle School and the Crook County School District will be directly in the nation's educational spotlight with today's excellent news that CCMS science teacher Mike Geisen has been named the 2008 National Teacher of the Year.
   We are certain that education officials, school board members and teachers from around the state and around the nation will take a second look at our small school district, wondering how Geisen accomplished this.
   Whether it's using songs to sing about science or his belief that students are not children - they are "fellow human beings" - or his efforts at making science exciting, Geisen is highly deserving of this award.
   He is an example of what is right with the Crook County School District - respecting students and spending countless hours educating them about the wonders of our world and the universe.
   There is a fine balance in making sure students reach benchmarks and have good test scores, while also instilling in them a love of learning. That has been key for Geisen.
   Tomorrow, Geisen, or Mr. G as he is nicknamed by staff at CCMS, will be honored by President George W. Bush.
   Mike, at this time we thank you and all of the residents of the State of Oregon thank you for a job superbly done.
   Congratulations Mr. G!
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