Arizona Educational Foundation announced ten finalists for its 2022 Arizona Teacher of the Year Award this week. The winner will be named on Saturday, Oct. 16 at the Madison Center for the Arts in Phoenix.
The Arizona Teacher of the Year will earn a $15,000 cash prize, represent Arizona in the National Teacher of the Year competition, meet U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House, attend International Space Camp and more. The winner and and four Ambassadors for Excellence also receive professional speech and storytelling training, a free membership to Treasures4Teachers, scholarships from the Arizona K12 Center to pursue National Board Certification and recognition in the Fiesta Bowl Parade.
Winners are selected by an independent panel after an open nominations process. The ten finalists will undergo a final interview, after which five teachers will be named “Ambassadors for Excellence” and finalists for the Arizona Teacher of the Year Award. The remaining five will become “Semifinalists.” All ten are celebrated throughout the year. The ten 2022 contenders for Teacher of the Year are:
- Jason Catanese (Mathematics), Pueblo Del Sol Elementary School, Isaac School District
- Jennifer Cheesman (Science), Zuni Hill Elementary, Peoria Unified School District
- Ashley Crose (Social Sciences), Saguaro High School, Scottsdale Unified School District
- Jessica England (Music & English Language Arts), Sahuarita Middle School, Sahuarita Unified School District
- Ashton Gildea (English), Walden Grove High School, Sahuarita Unified School District
- Kristina Laborin (ELA, Social Studies, Gifted Ed.), Old Vail Middle School, Vail Unified School District
- Nancy Parra-Quinlan (STEM/CTE) Kino Junior High School, Mesa Unified School District
- Lindsey Peterson (English), Apollo High School, Glendale Union High School District
- John Carlo Tulinao (General Ed, STEM), Amberlea Elementary School, Pendergast Elementary School District
- Alyssa Weed (Music), Acacia Elementary School, Washington Elementary School District
Sara Wyffels, a Spanish teacher at Chandler High School in the Chandler Unified School District, is still carrying out the duties of her role as 2021 Arizona Teacher of the Year.
Arizona Educational Foundation Executive Director Kim Graham says the Teacher of the Year program — now in its 39th year — is made possible by the support of donors and sponsors, including Desert Financial Credit Union. The nonprofit AEF celebrates excellence and cultivates equity in Pre-K-12th grade Arizona public education. To make a donation or inquire about sponsorship opportunities, contact Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any certified full-time teacher working in an Arizona state-accredited public school or Bureau of Indian Education school is eligible for a Teacher of the Year nomination. Teachers can self-nominate; students, colleagues, administrators, family members and friends can also submit nominations — which are accepted Jan. 1-April 30 — for the 2023 Teacher of the Year award. Visit azedfoundation.org/teacher-of-the-year