IMBLER — An Imbler educator who makes sure students everywhere are remembered received an honor Tuesday that will not soon be forgotten.

JD Cant, an agricultural sciences instructor, was recognized as the Oregon Department of Education’s teacher of the year for the InterMountain region.

Cant received a $500 check from the education department and the Oregon Lottery Commission during a ceremony at Imbler High School via a video conference. Cant, speaking from the school’s science room, accepted the award with a touch of humility.

“We are all in this together,” Cant said. “I’m just a piece of the puzzle.”

The educator now is in the running for the Oregon Department of Education’s 2021 teacher of the year award, which will be announced in the fall.

Cant has taught at Imbler High since the fall of 2002. He grew up in Imbler and graduated there in 1997. He has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education from Oregon State University and a master’s degree in science education from Eastern Oregon University.

Imbler School District Superintendent Angie Lakey-Campbell said Cant works hard to develop an excellent understanding of his students.

“JD takes time to connect with each student and identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses. He is a wonderful mentor. JD finds a way to serve all students in our district,” Lakey-Campbell said.

IHS business teacher and Future Business Leaders of America chapter adviser Jennifer Teeter echoed the words of Lakey-Campbell.

“He is a great mentor. He finds ways to connect with kids,” Teeter said.

Reynold Gardner, agriculture education specialist for the Oregon Department of Education, during the ceremony called Imbler High’s agriculture program one of the state’s elite programs.

“JD is recognized for his innovative teaching strategies and is frequently utilized at the state and national level to facilitate educational workshops,’’ Gardner said.

The agriculture science teacher was one of 54 educators from the InterMountain region nominated for an award by students, parents, educators and community members. After being nominated, each of the 54 had to complete and submit award forms. Cant learned he had been nominated in February and began completing forms before the COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of all schools in Oregon. Cant said in the hectic time that followed, when teachers had to begin distance education, he forgot about the nomination and remembered it just in time to finish the paperwork before the deadline.

Following Tuesday’s ceremony Cant left the high school for Imbler’s agricultural sciences building to teach a horticulture class online.

“I better see if I can live up to this award,” Cant said with a smile.

While walking outside, about 10 students congratulated Cant. Several carried signs expressing their enthusiastic support. One from sophomore Kendra Counsell, an FFA officer, stated: “We Cant Be More Proud of You Mr. Cant”

General assignment reporter

Beats include the communities of North Powder, Imbler, Island City and Union, education, Union County veterans programs and local history. Dick joined The Observer in 1983, first working as a sports and outdoors reporter.

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