- Cama-i, quyana tailuci!
- (Central Yup’ik)
- "Greetings, thank you for coming!"
2021 Alaska Teacher of the Year Nomination Period is CLOSED!
Alaska has many outstanding teachers that are worthy of this award. The Alaska Teacher of the Year (TOY) Program gives us an exciting opportunity to identify Alaska’s best teachers! Any interested Alaska citizen may make nominations for the Alaska Teacher of the Year. The Alaska TOY Program is an excellent way to acknowledge the expertise, skills, accomplishments, and professionalism of teachers within your school. Nomination period is closed.
Kelly Shrein - 2021 Teacher of the Year
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced students and teachers to adapt to distance learning, Shrein’s ability to keep students engaged and show them love and support caught the attention of local and national media outlets.
This began with her driving by each students’ house expressing how much they were missed. She then began writing postcards, setting up Zooms, and making phone calls consistently through the spring and summer. When classes resumed via Zoom in fall of 2020, attendance in her class was higher than anticipated and the fruits of the time spent connecting with students outside of class were apparent.
“Congratulations to Mrs. Kelly Shrein,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “As a former teacher, principal, and superintendent in rural Alaska, I know the challenges educators face every single day, which is why it’s so rewarding to see students eager to learn. So I thank all of our Alaskan educators across the state. I appreciate everything you do.”
"Kelly Shrein is a shining example of what makes Alaska’s educators among the best in the country,” Commissioner Michael Johnson said. “Even in the face of adversity, Mrs. Shrein goes to extraordinary lengths on a daily basis to connect with her students and ensure an excellent education, regardless of the circumstances. Kelly’s work to reach out to, support, and encourage her students throughout the pandemic shows tremendous creativity and care – not just for who the students are today, but for the adults and leaders they will become in the future.”
Shrein is a 2013 graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage and has been with the Anchorage School District since 2013. She earned a Master’s of Education in Reading and Learning at Walden University.
- Program Coordinator
- Hollins Emili
- (907) 269-6757
Recent Teachers of the Year
- 2020 - Amy Gallaway
West Valley High School, Fairbanks
- 2019 - Danielle Riha
Alaska Native Cultural Charter School
- 2018 - Ben Walker,
Romig Middle School
- 2017 - James Harris,
Soldotna High School
- 2016 - Amy Jo Meiners,
Auke Bay and Riverbend Elementary Schools
- 2015 - John Bruce,
Romig Middle School
- 2014 - Denise Lisac,
Dillingham Elementary School
- 2013 - Christopher Benshoof,
Lathrop High School
All Teachers of the Year
- To view a list of Alaska's Teacher of the Year from 1963 to Present
About the National Teacher of the Year Program
The National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) Program began in 1952 and continues as the oldest, most prestigious national honors program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. The NTOY is chosen from among the State Teachers of the Year by a National Selection Committee representing the major national education organizations. Each April, the NTOY is introduced to the American people by the President of the United States.
Participation in the NTOY Program is available through the State Teacher of the Year Program. Each year the 50 states, five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity name a state teacher of the year.
During the official year of recognition, the NTOY Program is released from classroom duties to travel nationally and internationally as a spokesperson and advocate for the teaching profession. The teacher's home state and district ensure the teacher's salary and benefits. All scheduling and logistical arrangements for the National Teacher are coordinated through the NTOY Program. National Teachers average over 150 events each year before audiences ranging from several hundred to over ten thousand. Television, radio, and the print media readily utilize National Teachers to represent the voice of education. The National Teacher may be called upon to represent American educators to audiences in other nations. National Teachers are frequently requested to sit on national and state commissions and policy advising bodies.
Criteria for Selection of State Teacher of the Year
A candidate for Teacher of the Year:
- Is an expert in their field who guides students of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve excellence.
- Collaborates with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of respect and success.
- Deliberately connects the classroom and key stakeholders to foster a strong community at large.
- Demonstrates leadership and innovation in and outside of the classroom walls that embodies lifelong learning.
- Expresses themselves in an engaging and articulate way.
- Has five (5) or more years experience in the field of education.