2019 Teacher of the Year Finalists
- Jacob Bera, Art Teacher, Eagle River High School, Anchorage SD;
- Ingrid Cumberlidge, 3rd Grade Teacher, Sand Point School, Aleutians East Borough SD;
- Steve Hall, Science Teacher, Houston High School, Matanuska-Susitna Borough SD;
- Chohla Moll, Science Teacher, Mt. Edgecumbe High School; and
- Danielle Riha, Middle School Teacher, Alaska Native Cultural Charter School, Anchorage SD
Read the 2019 Teacher of the Year Finalists Press Release
- Program Coordinator
- Cecilia Miller
- (907) 465-8703
2018 Teacher of the Year – Ben Walker
Mr. Walker has spent his 11-year career at Romig Middle School in the Anchorage School District where he teaches seventh grade science, as well as applied technology, robotics, and media technology. He serves on the school’s social and emotional learning committee, organizes STEM Career Day, and helps organize the MathCOUNTS program. Mr. Walker was the 2013 Alaska Awardee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching.
Mr. Walker challenges his students to be active participants in their learning by providing experiential learning opportunities that are relevant and of interest to each learner. He says, “My goal is to help students learn to learn on their own as in our current world, this skill is as important as information. Students today must be able to learn, unlearn, and relearn to remain competitive in the workplace.”
Mr. Walker holds a bachelor of arts degree in biology from Whitman College and a master of arts degree in teaching from the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Recent Teachers of the Year
- 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.