Gary Sletmoe, 9th Grade English Teacher at Franklin High School in SE Portland, Oregon

Nominated by Yanci Ross & Thomas Coleman  (student & former student)

My 9th grade English Teacher, Mr. Sletmoe, is the best teacher I’ve had in all of my years in the Portland Public Schools.  Thomas was in Mr. Sletmoe’s class as a 9th grader as well and he agrees. Mr. Sletmoe enjoys his job and his classroom is a good environment.  He is always really respectful to everyone no matter how good or bad they are in his class.  He is always organized and his goal is to help us improve.  He gives us lots of opportunities to do better.  He’s helpful, interesting, and invested in making learning enjoyable.  My family really appreciates the dedication Mr. Sletmoe has shown. 

Congrats, Gary, from all of us at K103! Get to know Gary Sletmoe:

What inspired you to become an educator?

I started coaching youth sports in college and thought "hey, working with young people is pretty fun". After some timely advice from my older sister, I decided that education would be a viable--and rewarding--career choice. As I got some time in the classroom, I realized that I had made the right choice.          

What do you like most about teaching?

I love that every day is different and presents its own challenges and opportunities. The students are amazing and each day challenge me to bring my "A" game.

What has changed the most since you began your career in education?

Our reliance on technology (both good and bad).

What would you like parents to know about your job?

I'd want parents to know that even though I have a bunch of students in each class, I value their child as an individual, with all of their strengths and weaknesses. I strive to challenge them--and help them improve their skills--each day in my class.

Share a favorite story about your years in education.

A few years ago I had a freshman student who was really struggling in school and in life. I challenged him repeatedly to hang in there. I was probably even pretty hard on him sometimes when he wasn't living up to his potential (I kind of thought that he was getting sick of me). At the end of the year, he came up to me and thanked me for challenging him and sticking with him even when we had some rough patches. That was awesome!

Each week during the school year, K103 and Concordia University will honor a local educator.  Each week, our honored educator receives:

  • $103 Gift Card for Classroom School Supplies
  • The Crystal Apple Award
  • A Concordia University Continuing Education Scholarship