Lynette Stant, a third-grade teacher at Salt River Elementary School in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is Arizona’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. Stant, who is Navajo, is the first Native American woman to be named Arizona’s Teacher of the Year.
Stant was one of about 100 applicants for the Arizona Educational Foundation’s 2020 Teacher of the Year award, which was announced Thursday at an annual luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore Resort. As the winner, she will receive a $15,000 cash award, enjoy one week at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, and will compete for National Teacher of the Year.
Stant says she hopes to focus on equitable education for kids in rural areas and on Native American reservations in Arizona. “I became a teacher because I don’t ever want a Native American student to feel they are not prepared to meet the challenges of college,” Stant said in a statement. “Every student, no matter their background or learning ability, deserves an equitable education.”
Stant will make dozens of appearances across the state advocating for teachers and public education in 2020. Teachers of the Year also get professional training in public speaking and storytelling and a classroom makeover.
Nine finalists and semifinalists were also honored at the luncheon. The four finalists, who are also 2020 Ambassadors for Excellence, are:
- Ben Collinsworth, pre-kindergarten literacy and STEM teacher at Emily Meschter Early Learning Center of Flowing Wells Unified School District in Tucson.
- Nate Rios, U.S. government and history teacher at Flowing Wells High School in Tucson.
- Sheila Rowe, sixth-grade English Language Arts teacher at Coyote Ridge Elementary School in the Glendale Elementary School District.
- Taryn Tidwell, middle school choir, musical theater and drama teacher at Shepherd Junior High School of Mesa Public Schools.
Five additional teachers were selected as semifinalists:
- Jessica Buttles, Kindergarten and structured English immersion teacher at Sunburst Elementary School of Washington Elementary School District in Glendale.
- Lauren Cluff, Kindergarten to sixth-grade reading interventionalist at Hughes Elementary School of Mesa Public Schools.
- Angie Edington, early childhood special education teacher at Faith North Early Childhood Learning Center of Phoenix Elementary School District.
- Allison McElwee, third-grade teacher at Mountain View Elementary School of the Humboldt Unified School District in Prescott Valley.
- Jennifer Fowler, high school English teacher and literacy coach at Greenway High School of Glendale Union High School District, Phoenix.
Recent Arizona Educational Foundation Teachers of the Year
- 2019: Kareem Neal, a self-contained special education teacher at Maryvale High School in the Phoenix Union High School District.
- 2018: Josh Meibos, a kindergarten through sixth-grade physical education teacher at David Crockett Elementary School in Phoenix.
- 2017: Michelle Doherty, a first grade teacher at Encanto School in Phoenix’s Osborn Elementary School District.
- 2016: Christine Marsh, of Scottsdale’s Chaparral High School and candidate for Arizona’s state legislature.
- 2015: John-David Bowman of Westwood High School in Mesa.
To be considered for the Arizona Educational 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 candidates are selected to prepare a 15-minute unedited video of them teaching in the classroom. Finalists get a $5,000 cash award; semifinalists get $1,000.
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- Q&A with Arizona’s 2018 Teacher of the Year Josh Meibos
- Q&A with Michelle Doherty, Arizona’s 2017 Teacher of the Year
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