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Athey Creek teacher proves unique creativity

TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Amber Sprague is in her second year at Athey Creek Middle School after recently being named Oregon Rookie Art Teacher of the Year.Amber Sprague says her main objective when she started at Athey Creek Middle School last year was simply to gain her footing as the school’s art teacher. It was only her third year as a full-time educator, having spent the two prior years in the Newport School District, and she was still finding her way in the profession to some degree.

That’s why she says she was “as surprised as anybody” when the Oregon Art Education Association named her the Oregon Rookie Art Educator of the Year a few weeks back.

“I knew that the award existed because I’ve been a part of the Oregon Art Education Association, who gives out the awards, for a while, but I did not expect to win it,” Sprague says. “It was crazy.”

All Oregon teachers with three years of middle school art teaching experience or less were eligible for the award, making it an especially prestigious honor considering how many teachers she beat out. Sprague credits the Oregon Art Education Association as well as her colleagues within the West Linn-Wilsonville School District for the distinction. She also credits her passion for her profession, which she began to foster as an undergrad at Chico State University.

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