The Blanchet girls track team celebrates its second-place win with coach Dave Mucken at the 3A Oregon School Activities Association State Track and Field Championships last spring. A longtime teacher, Mucken revitalized Blanchet’s track program. (Gina Salang/Courtesy Blanchet School)
The Blanchet girls track team celebrates its second-place win with coach Dave Mucken at the 3A Oregon School Activities Association State Track and Field Championships last spring. A longtime teacher, Mucken revitalized Blanchet’s track program. (Gina Salang/Courtesy Blanchet School)
SALEM — Dave Mucken has taught at Blanchet School here for 14 years. He teaches physical education and weights in addition to serving as head track coach and Outdoor Club adviser. This year, Mucken was nominated for the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation’s Crystal Apple Award. Known as the Oscars of education, the award honors those making a significant impact on the lives of children. Mucken was nominated for his work in creating a learning environment that helps students be successful in their daily lives.

A Blanchet alumni and former student of Mucken wrote: “I now realize just how special a teacher must be to deeply connect with such a wide variety of students. In the classroom, he actively searches for new ways to convey concepts, adapting his teaching style and curriculum to the needs of each class. He sees the potential in each of his students and athletes, resolutely fostering and encouraging it until the students recognize it, too. Despite lack of funding and equipment, under Mr. Mucken’s leadership, Blanchet’s track team has achieved eight consecutive league championships since 2010 and has sent a continuous stream of athletes to the state meet.

“Have faith and be confident today,” Mucken wrote to one student before the state meet. “If you believed in yourself as much as I believe in you, then you would see just how great you are. Know that you can reach your goals and be a success today.’”

The Blanchet community sees Mucken as the kind of teacher successful schools must have — not only fulfilling his job requirements skillfully but also doing whatever he can to help students be successful.  

School officials say he is “truly a rock star and the Blanchet community is incredibly blessed to have him on our staff.”