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Colorado Teacher of the Year
About the Program
Each year, the Colorado Teacher of the Year Program honors an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled K-12 classroom teacher to represent the entire profession in the state. The selected teacher will automatically become Colorado's nominee for the National Teacher of the Year competition. The national program is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers. Visit the National Teacher of the Year program webpage for more information.
The Colorado Teacher of the Year receives many professional development opportunities and, along with the country’s other teachers of the year, is honored at a special ceremony at the White House and gets the opportunity to go to NASA’s Space Camp. The teacher also becomes a member of the Colorado Education Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet.
Seven finalists for 2023 Colorado Teacher of the Year announced
CDE has announced its top candidates for the 2023 Colorado Teacher of the Year competition with the sole finalist to be announced by the end of October. Finalists are listed below in the same order as their photos appear above.
- Jimmy Day - Music, East Middle School, Aurora Public Schools
- Tobias DeHerrera - First-grade, Mountain View Core Knowledge School, Fremont RE-1 School District
- Whitney Gaskill - Fourth and fifth grade, Silverton School, San Juan School District 1
- Theresa James - Social studies, Vista Ridge High School, District 49
- Paulina Lerma - English language acquisition - Spanish, Green Valley Elementary School, Denver Public Schools
- Rocio Meli - Seventh and eighth grade Spanish and eighth grade English language development, Castle Rock Middle School, Douglas County School District
- Scott Wheeler - Choir and drama teacher, Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School, Poudre School District RE-1
2022 Colorado Teacher of the Year named finalist for national honor
Rivera has taught sixth grade at her current school for nine years. She is also an adjunct professor in the education department at Colorado Mountain College. During her more 16 years as an educator, she has worked with students from elementary to postgraduate levels. Rivera is a member of the Colorado Science Conference Planning Committee and the Steering Committee with the Colorado Science Education Network. She is the Region 3 Elementary Board representative for the Colorado Association of Science Teachers and volunteers with the American Association of Chemistry Teachers.
In addition to her work in the field of science, Rivera serves on the Roaring Fork School District Interest Based Bargaining Committee and is her building’s advisor for the district’s Mentor and Advisor Program. She is the design facilitator for schoolwide events as well as a school track coach.
Teacher of the Year Archives
Recent Colorado Teachers of the Year
- Gerardo Muñoz, 2021 Colorado Teacher of the Year
- Hilary Wimmer, 2020 Colorado Teacher of the Year
- Meg Cypress, 2019 Colorado Teacher of the Year
- Christina Randle, 2018 Colorado Teacher of the Year
- Sean Wybrant, 2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year
Veteran Colorado Teachers of the Year
Colorado Council of the Network of State Teachers of the Year
The Colorado Council of the Network of State Teachers of the Year (NSTOY) is an organization committed to the preservation and enhancement of the Colorado Teacher of the Year Program. The Council works with the Colorado State Department of Education and other corporate and organizational partners to celebrate teaching excellence through the recognition of educators who have inspired a love for learning in their students, and who have distinguished themselves in the profession. All Colorado State Teachers of the Year, as well as each year's finalists, are invited to participate.
For more information on this program, please contact:
Competitive Grants and Awards Supervisor