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News Release - 2013 Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

Oct. 19, 2012

2013 Colorado Teacher of the Year finalists announced

The Colorado Department of Education today announced four finalists for the Colorado Teacher of the Year Award. Each year the Colorado Teacher of the Year program honors an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled teacher to represent the entire profession in Colorado. The finalists are:

Hollyanna Bates, Dillon Valley Elementary School, Dillon, Summit School District. Bates is a first-grade teacher with 16 years of teaching experience. She earned National Board Certification in 2011. Bates is a strong supporter of community service and volunteerism. She started the district’s first Green Team, engaging students to take interest in environmental issues within the community. She believes it is a teacher’s responsibility to cultivate a student’s desire for knowledge and understanding by developing creativity, problem-solving and compassion.

Theresa Collins, Centaurus High School, Lafayette, Boulder Valley School District. Collins has been a language arts teacher at Centaurus High School for 25 of her 27 years in education. She serves on the Boulder Valley Language Arts Curriculum Council, writing curriculum to align district standards with new Colorado Academic Standards. Collins facilitates staff development sessions aimed at helping language arts teachers become comfortable with new curriculum. Collins believes teachers must keep learning and growing along with their students, examine what isn’t working and then fix it.

Karen Johnson, STEM Magnet Lab School, Northglenn, Adams 12 Five Star Schools. Johnson has been an elementary and middle school math and science educator for the past 22 years. Johnson has a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Innovation, focusing on scientific inquiry, teacher backgrounds, beliefs and practice. One of her primary goals is to provide leadership, especially in the areas of math, science, engineering and technology with students in high needs areas. She incorporates technology and understanding of 21st century skills in her classroom daily.

AmandaWestenberg, Rangeview High School, Aurora, Aurora Public Schools. Westenberg has been in education for eight years. She serves as the social studies department chair and is currently developing interactive Advanced Placement curriculum. She feels her personal mission is to enable students to become literate thinkers with the skills to succeed in their post-secondary pursuits. She has developed a supportive classroom community grounded in positive teacher-student relationships.

The Colorado Teacher of the Year will be announced next week and is chosen by a committee of individuals from state-level education agencies. The selection submission includes a written application, letters of recommendation, classroom video clips, endorsements from the teacher’s district and personal interviews.

Nominees are judged on their ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities. They are expected to play an active role in the community and to have earned the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues.

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