Five finalists — K-12 teachers from Phoenix, Chandler and Surprise — are in the running for the 2018 Arizona Teacher of the Year award, the Arizona Education Foundation announced on Thursday. The winner will be named on Tuesday, Nov. 7 at the annual awards luncheon at the Arizona Grand Resort.
The five finalists, called Ambassadors for Excellence, in the statewide program to spotlight and honor Arizona’s public school teachers are:
• Amy Ball, kindergarten teacher at Madison Traditional Academy of Madison Elementary School District, Phoenix.
• Allison Davis, kindergarten teacher at Knox Gifted Academy of Chandler Unified School District.
• Erica Davis, twelfth-grade English teacher at Basha High School of Chandler Unified School District.
• Josh Meibos, kindergarten through sixth-grade physical education teacher at David Crockett Elementary School of Balsz Elementary School District, Phoenix.
• Justean Palmer, fifth-grade math teacher at Canyon Ridge School of Dysart Unified School District, Surprise.
Five additional teachers were selected as semifinalists who are not in contention for the 2018 Teacher of the Year award:
• Brenda Kilmurray, fifth-grade teacher at Huachuca Mountain Elementary School of Sierra Vista Unified School District.
• Leah Oliver, ninth- through twelfth-grade sports medicine teacher at Mountain View High School of Marana Unified School District, Tucson.
• Janelle Roberts-Perrin, kindergarten through twelfth-grade adaptive physical education teacher at Cactus Shadows High School of Cave Creek Unified School District.
• Ruth Ruiz, sixth-grade Spanish immersion teacher at Clarendon Elementary School of Osborn Elementary School District, Phoenix.
• Nichole Spencer, eighth-grade science and STEM teacher at Wilson Elementary School of Wilson Elementary School District, Phoenix.
The 2018 Teacher of the Year will receive a $15,000 cash award; one week at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama; professional training in public speaking, a full scholarship toward an advanced degree at Argosy University in north-central Phoenix and a chance to compete for National Teacher of the Year. Finalists get a $5,000 cash award, and semifinalists get $1,000.
To be considered for the Arizona Education Foundation’s Teacher of the Year award, candidates must submit a written application that is reviewed by a panel of educators and business leaders. Ten finalists must prepare a 15-minute unedited video of them teaching in the classroom. Former Teachers of the Year, finalists and semifinalists are ineligible to reapply.