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:
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 districtís
first Green Team, engaging students to take interest in
environmental issues within the community. She believes
it is a teacherís responsibility to cultivate a
studentís desire for knowledge and understanding by
developing creativity, problem-solving and compassion.
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 isnít working and then fix it.
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.
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 teacherís district and
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.
For more information,