You are here

Colorado Teacher of the Year

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.


Supported by
Denver7 The  Denver Channel Logo

2023 Colorado Teacher of the Year Supported by Denver 7 ABC

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

For more information on each finalist, read the Sept. 1, 2022, news release.

2022 Colorado Teacher of the Year named finalist for national honor

Autumn Rivera, Colorado’s 2022 Teacher of the Year, has been named one of four finalists for the 2022 National Teacher of the Year award by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

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.

Rivera was announced as the state’s finalist for the 2022 Teacher of the Year in October.

Program Partners

Colorado Education Association Logo

Adams State University Logo

Blue Bell Ice Cream Logo

Teacher of the Year Archives

Recent Colorado Teachers 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 for upcoming meetings, as well as how to join, visit the Colorado Council's website.

Contact Us

For more information on this program, please contact:

Kim Burnham
Competitive Grants and Awards Supervisor
(303) 866-6916