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Educator of the Year

Garrison Middle School teacher named Chamber of Commerce Educator of the Year


Congratulations to Garrison Middle School teacher Conor Fish for receiving the Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce Hometown Hero Educator of the Year Award. Conor teaches English Language Arts and Social Studies. He models excellence in the teaching profession and is exceptional at delivering quality instruction to Walla Walla youth.

Conor Fish is a teacher whose method of teaching is tailored to meet the individual needs of students. He believes he needs to meet his students where they are at academically and socially and differentiate his instruction for the different skill levels of students in his classroom. He developed a program called Garrison University. Garrison University was born out of elements of AVID - Advancement Via Individual Determination, which is a national program helping youth become first generation college students. Conor was AVID trained and implemented these teaching strategies for more than 10 years. Conor was determined to utilize Garrison University as a way to support and teach students of disadvantaged backgrounds so they have a clear path to college. Conor instills a strong work ethic within his students by teaching them time management and organizational skills in a highly rigorous academic setting. He has high expectations for all students regardless of their home life, demographics and socio-economic status. Students succeed in Conor's classes largely because of his relentless support.

Conor exemplifies creativity, enthusiasm, commitment and development of a positive learning environment. He is in constant motion helping students, adapting lessons and support on the fly, and engaging on a personal level to build positive relationships. Students often refer to Conor as their favorite teacher because he truly cares and puts in the work to make each of them successful.

Conor has made significant contributions in education and work with future leaders. He plays a vital role in Garrison’s Professional Learning Team with his fellow staff members by demonstrating creativity and leadership in professional development. He is always willing to help his colleagues with a lesson or difficult class management situation. He is part of the school’s guiding coalition team which entails extra hours of meetings after the rest of the staff has departed for the day. Conor is also a technology expert and is often helping staff and students navigate the ever-changing world of technology. This has been especially helpful during the pandemic as technology has played a larger role in daily instruction.

Conor constantly goes above and beyond for his students and school. He embodies the characteristics every school needs on their staff: high integrity; a willingness to work outside of the contract day because it is in the best interest of his students; and a personal commitment to being the best teacher he can. He does not settle for good enough. You will find him in his classroom on the weekends preparing for the weeks ahead because, in order for him to feel good about his lesson plans, he needs that extra time to prepare.

The Hometown Hero Educator of the Year award is meant for professionals in education who resemble excellence in teaching. Conor Fish emulates this each day! He symbolizes hard work and what it means to be a Hometown Hero. Congratulations again to Conor Fish for receiving this prestigious award by exemplifying high standards of excellence in everything he does.

Photo: Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kyle Tarbet and School Board President Ruth Ladderud present Garrison Middle School teacher Conor Fish with the Chamber’s Hometown Hero Educator of the Year award. 

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