“Brad does an incredible job of connecting with his students, even when learning online. His enthusiasm for the math and willingness to learn new skills and take on challenges is inspiring,” said Amy Tarnow, administrator of Bend-La Pine Schools Online.
Soto received the award during a surprise ceremony including current colleagues as well as several former students who wanted to celebrate alongside their teacher.
"Teaching has provided me the opportunity to meet and connect with thousands of students over my career. Getting to connect with each student over the year helps in the learning progress when kids feel welcomed and supported," said Soto.
Soto was one of six teacher finalists considered for the award, including La Pine Elementary School school psychologist Celeste DuBose, La Pine High School life skills teacher Cari Fike, literacy coach Lindsley Gehrig, Pilot Butte Middle School science and leadership teacher Stacy Welsh and North Star Elementary School physical education instructor Jenny White. A committee of six community members reviewed the finalist applications and selected Soto as the Outstanding Educator of the Year.
Mid Oregon Credit Union sponsored the award and Soto received $500 to use for his program.