You are here

News Release - 2022 Colorado Teacher of the Year named finalist for national honor

CORRECTION: The last Colorado Teacher of the Year to become a finalist for the National Teacher of the Year was in 2009. A previous version of this news release stated the last national finalist to be in 1994. We apologize for the error.

Jan. 19, 2022

2022 Colorado Teacher of the Year named finalist for national honor

DENVER -- 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 is a sixth-grade science teacher at Glenwood Springs Middle School in the Roaring Fork School District. She was announced as the state’s finalist for the 2022 Teacher of the Year in October.

“Colorado is extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of educators across our great state so I am thrilled to congratulate Ms. Rivera for being named a 2022 National Teacher of the Year finalist.” said Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. “She is an amazing educator who is creating a better future for her students and her community. Ms. Rivera and her students played a key role in the awe-inspiring Sweetwater Lake becoming Colorado’s 43rd state park, which will be enjoyed by Colorado families for generations to come. Ms. Rivera is an incredible asset to her students and her community and we are fortunate to have her and so many other exceptional educators serving the students of Colorado.”

Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes also congratulated Rivera.

“Autumn is an exceptional educator, and we are immensely proud that she has been chosen to represent our state’s teaching profession at the national level,” Anthes said. “Ms. Rivera inspires her students to engage – right now – in the world around them to create real change in our world. Her students and colleagues have told us how much they admire her passion for science, dedication to her school community, and her unwavering commitment to equity.”

As Colorado Teacher of the Year, Rivera is a representative of Colorado’s teachers. She was entered into the national competition as the state’s nominee in November. The CCSSO National Teacher of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from 19 education organizations, selected Rivera as one of the top four candidates out of 56 educators who applied.

As a national finalist, Rivera will attend interviews with the National Teacher of the Year Program’s Selection Committee. A sole finalist is expected to be announced later this spring. If chosen as the 2022 National Teacher of the Year, Rivera will spend the year serving as an ambassador for education and an advocate for all teachers and students across the nation.

The last time a Colorado teacher was a finalist for the National Teacher of the Year was in 2009. Not since 1978 has a finalist from Colorado been selected as the National Teacher of the Year. An archived list of Colorado Teachers of the Year is available on the CDE website.

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 than 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.

For more information about the Colorado Teacher of the Year, visit the program webpage on the CDE website.

More information about the National Teacher of the Year Program is available on the CCSSO website.