In the community

Vale educator named regional teacher of the year

Erstrom, a teacher for over 30 years, 'has a way with kids' said fellow educator Theresa Meiwald. (The Enterprise/Carolyn Agrimis)

 VALE – Rhonda Erstrom, a second grade teacher at Vale Elementary School, was “totally shocked” when she was recently selected as the region’s top educator.

Erstrom, who is quick with a warm smile or to speak words of encouragement to one of her students, has been teaching for 33 years. She’s been a teacher at Vale since 1997, and was selected for the regional honor by the Oregon Department of Education.

Erstrom said she always wanted to be a teacher.

“My dad was a teacher and I just wanted to follow in his footsteps,” Erstrom said. “I saw the joy that it brought him and I really never thought about doing anything else.”

In her classroom . . .