Portland, OR -

A Portland special education teacher has been named Oregon's Teacher of the Year.

Brett Bigham teaches a life skills class for older special needs students, helping them transition from school into the real world.

Rob Saxton, the deputy superintendent of Oregon schools, announced the award Wednesday, saying Bigham is a master teacher and an incredibly caring individual.

Bigham describes his job is part teacher, part parent and part social worker. In a given class, he may work with one student who can do algebra, and another who has trouble counting to five.

But his work extends beyond numbers and letters. Bigham, for example, created a daytime prom for special needs students who can't attend nighttime events. In his free time, he hand-made 70 corsages so every girl would have flowers.