Michelle Doherty, a first-grade teacher at Encanto School in the Osborn Elementary School District in Phoenix, was named 2017 Teacher of the Year on Thursday by the Arizona Educational Foundation.
Doherty is in her 22nd year of teaching at Encanto School. She believes that all children can learn and that outstanding teaching can be measured by inclusivity and attention to all students needs, according to the AEF, a statewide nonprofit that awards exceptional efforts in Arizona public schools.
As Teacher of the Year, Doherty gets a $15,000 cash award, professional speech training and a full scholarship toward an advanced degree at Argosy University. She will also compete for the title of National Teacher of the Year and attend international space camp in Huntsville, Alabama.
AEF also named four Teacher of the Year finalists, called “Ambassadors for Excellence,” who will serve with Doherty as spokespersons for their profession and advocates for excellence in the classroom. The four ambassadors are:
Chrissy DeBono, a second- through fifth-grade math teacher at Cottonwood Elementary School in Tucson’s Vail Unified School District.
Lori Lyford, a high-school music and choral teacher at Chandler High School in the Chandler Unified School District.
Jena Phillips, a middle-school science teacher at Bogle Jr. High School in the Chandler Unified School District.
Maria Plata, a first-grade Spanish-immersion teacher at Kyrene del Norte School in the Tempe’s Kyrene School District.