- Cama-i, quyana tailuci!
- (Central Yup’ik)
- "Greetings, thank you for coming!"
2019 National Teacher of the Year Finalist
Danielle Riha, an educator at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School in Anchorage and the 2019 Alaska Teacher of the Year, has been selected as one of four finalists for the 2019 National Teacher of the Year. Four educators with diverse teaching styles and who teach different subjects have been selected as finalists for the 2019 National Teacher of the Year. Finalists for the Nation’s Top Teaching Honor are from Alaska, the District of Columbia, Oklahoma, and Virginia.
- Program Coordinator
- Cecilia Miller
- (907) 465-8703
2019 Alaska Teacher of the Year - Danielle Riha
Ms. Riha moved to Alaska in 1995 and fell in love with the state. Substitute teaching in Alaska inspired her to earn a teaching degree from the University of Alaska. Riha taught in rural Alaska for seven years with Southwest Region School District, where she learned the value of culturally responsive teaching which incorporated indigenous knowledge and developed a successful reading program that included Yup’ik elders in the classroom.
In 2008, she was recruited to help open the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School where she helped develop culturally infused curriculum, created the Morning Gathering, and implemented Culture Week. She also works on the Alaska Humanities Forum Educational Advisory Board to help new teachers and all students understand and connect to indigenous culture and lifestyle and she helped create Math in the Cultural Context modules used in districts state-wide.
Ms. Riha holds high expectations for every member of the learning community. She inspires everyone to be their best self and master personal challenges by recognizing strengths and working through difficulties. She believes that teachers must work collaboratively to form bonds that create supportive, successful learning communities.
Ms. Riha holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Alaska, a master’s in education from Grand Canyon University, and is working on her doctorate in education at Cappella University.
Recent Teachers of the Year
- 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.