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2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year Finalists

The Colorado Department of Education announces six finalists for the 2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year competition, with the winner to be announced by November 1, 2016.

"The depth of talent in our teaching ranks across Colorado is extraordinary and exceptional," said Colorado's interim education commissioner Katy Anthes. "Here, we have six exemplary educators to choose from. I don't envy the judges having to choose from these amazing individuals, who perfectly represent the thousands of dedicated teachers who every day inspire children in classrooms across the state." The finalists are:

2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year Finalist - Jeremy Beckman

Jeremy Beckman
Discovery Canyon High School, Academy School District 20

Mr. Beckman, a teacher for 11 years, has taught at Discovery Canyon Campus High School for the past three years. Teaching math and also coaching speech and debate, Beckman believes students must have the ability to be able to solve complex problems using their insight and background to prepare them for real world situations.

2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year Finalist - Melanie Holts

Melanie Holts
Falcon Elementary School of Technology, Falcon School District 49

Currently a second-grade teacher with 20 years' experience, Ms. Holts believes that an outstanding teacher builds a classroom around relationships where there is a mutual respect between all individuals.

2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year Finalist - Lisa Lee

Lisa Lee
Wheat Ridge High School, Jefferson County Public School District

Ms. Lee has taught for 28 years and is now a gifted and talented facilitator at Wheat Ridge High. Teaching has taken her to the TEDx Talk stage, to Europe as a keynote speaker, and to a deep level of personal satisfaction.

2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year Finalist - Carina Raetz

Carina Raetz
Carver Elementary, Colorado Springs School District 11

Ms. Raetz has been the English Language Learning (ELL) lead teacher for the past eight years at Carver Elementary School. During her past 20 years in education she has worked with students from Pre-K to 12th grade and has held various teaching roles and an administrative role. Her passion in life is to empower others so they can realize their dreams.

2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year Finalist - Jodi Simpson

Jodi Simpson
Paonia Elementary, Delta County School District

Ms. Simpson has taught for the past two decades and currently is a second-grade teacher at Paonia Elementary. Ms. Simpson believes teachers learn from and inspire each other. They cheer each other on because they know how important their role is for their students and communities. Teaching is her art, her musical instrument, and her favorite sport.

2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year Finalist - Sean Wybrant

Sean Wybrant
William J. Palmer High School, Colorado Springs School District 11

Mr. Wybrant has been teaching for 11 years, with the past four years as the Career and Technical Education teacher at Palmer High. Mr. Wybant is inspired to engage students in meaningful projects, provide explorations on a variety of topics, and bring learning to life for students. He says he became a teacher to change the world.

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