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Lois MacMillan


Grants Pass High School • Grants Pass, Oregon

When it comes to helping children, Lois MacMillan doesn’t limit herself to only students in her classroom. Whether coaching swimmers in the Special Olympics or taking a year-long sabbatical in New York City to work with thousands of teachers and students on a new curriculum, Lois’ efforts have not gone unrecognized.

The 33-year teaching veteran was awarded Oregon’s Civic Teacher Award in 2015 and received the Grammy Museum’s Jane Ortner Award in 2018. The latter honor was for Lois’ curriculum work, which included treating students to a live performance of the popular Broadway musical Hamilton.

Lois currently teaches American and world history at Grants Pass High School in Grants Pass, Ore., with an emphasis on the Civil War and Reconstruction. During her time as a Special Olympics coach, she knew she wanted to be a teacher.

“There is not a day in my 33 years that I did not wake up excited to go to school and teach,” Lois said. “The vocation of teaching is my soul.”

Despite her extensive career as a teacher, Lois has no plans to slow down anytime soon.

“I plan on swimming the English Channel at age 67,” she said. “I am a distance swimmer and would have the world record as the oldest to swim it. I also want to visit Russia – I am in love with Russian literature and want to visit the Hermitage.”