MILWAUKIE — Andrew Kuffner, vice-principal for academics and curriculum at La Salle Prep, has earned the educator of the year award from the Catholic secondary school.

The honor, given by a vote of faculty and staff, goes to educators who exemplify the ideals of St. John Baptist de La Salle: dedication to education, celebration of the value and dignity of all as children of God, care for students as older brothers or sisters, and Christian values lived out and taught.

Kuffner, affectionately known as “Kuff” by students and his colleagues, was lauded in nominations.

“Kuff works tirelessly to support students at La Salle. He very humbly contributes to their educational experience," one peer said.

"Kuff is an exceptional educator and someone who I have a great deal of respect for,” another declared.

Nominators also noted that “he models faith and leadership and has a respect for each student. He gives unconditionally of his time, has endless patience, and never toots his own horn.”

Kuffner highlights the opportunities he has to influence students, build relationships, and push youths in the right educational direction.  

"I try to value the students by listening to them and helping them uncover and understand what is really going on," he explains. "Once you know what the issues are, you can address that need. It is very gratifying to see students grow in a way they hadn’t seen themselves as able to do before.”

Kuffner earned a bachelor of science in secondary education with endorsements in math and physics from the University of Portland. He began his career at La Salle Prep in 1996 as an algebra and physics instructor. After five years of teaching as well as earning a masters of science in education administration from Portland State University, he became dean of students. In 2002, he entered his current post.