Featured Staff: Jeff Gower, Century High School

Century Teacher Jeff Gower Nominated for LifeChanger of the Year Award

February 23, 2018, Hillsboro, OR – Jeff Gower, an options and proficiency based learning teacher at Century High School, has been nominated for the 2017-2018 national LifeChanger of the Year award.

Sponsored by the National Life Group Foundation, LifeChanger of the Year recognizes and rewards the very best K-12 educators and school district employees across the United States who are making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership.

Gower was nominated by his principal, Martha Guise. In his role, he manages over 300 students during the school year in the Options program, which is made up of online, offline and proficiency-based learning classes that give students many options to graduate.

Gower works with content area advisors who approve strong standards for the program.  He holds classes every day, creating a quiet learning environment and building trusting relationships with the students he sees.

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"Our school attained a 91% graduation rate last year, and Mr. Gower's work was part of the reason for that number,” said Guise. “Every student can find a place in his program. He works with me to find a way to celebrate every time a senior attains their diploma, and they can feel that sense of achievement and know that they can overcome obstacles to achieve a goal. Mr. Gower is a coach, counselor, teacher and gentle voice of reason, coaxing students back to school.”

This year, with additional supports, he helped interview and select several staff members to grow that student outreach and engage more students in getting support in academics, attendance and self-advocacy.

"I have known Jeff Gower for 20 years.  I know his kids and spouse, and I have worked with him as a teacher, assistant principal, and as the principal of Century High School," Guise said. "There are very few people in this profession with as true a heart for teaching and students as Jeff.  I am deeply honored to work with an educator of his caliber."

Each school year, LifeChanger of the Year receives hundreds of nominations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Seventeen individual LifeChanger of the Year awards will be given during the 2017-2018 school year.

  • (1) Grand Prize Winner – will receive $10,000 to be shared with their school/district.
  • (4) Grand Prize Finalists – will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district.
  • (10) LifeChanger Award Winners – will receive $3,000 to be shared with their school/district.
  • (1) Spirit Award Winner – This award is given to the nominee whose community demonstrates the most support for their nomination. The winner will receive $5,000 to be shared with their school/district. Learn more at
  • (1) Spotlight Award Winner – This award is given to a nominee in a specific discipline each year. For 2017-2018, the award was given to Debra Santiago, who works as a secretary and bookkeeper in Orlando, FL. She received $5,000 to share with her school, Timber Lakes Elementary School.

Winners are announced via surprise award ceremonies held at their schools. The grand prize finalists will also be honored at a national awards ceremony in spring 2018 in Bermuda, where the Grand Prize Winner will be revealed.

Winners are chosen by a selection committee comprised of former winners and education professionals. Nominees must be K-12 teachers or school district employees. To be considered for an award, nominees must

  • Make a positive impact in the lives of students
  • Enhance their school or district’s atmosphere, culture and pride
  • Demonstrate exemplary leadership at the school and/or district level
  • Possess a proven record of professional excellence
  • Show commitment to building a nurturing environment that supports learning
  • Adhere to the highest moral and ethical standards

A resource page with ideas for how to celebrate nominees can be found at http://lifechangeroftheyear.com/showspirit/.

To view Mr. Gower’s LifeChanger of the Year nominee profile, or to nominate someone from your school community, visit www.LifeChangeroftheYear.com.