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News Release - Seven finalists for the 2021 Colorado Teacher of the Year announced

2021 Colorado Teacher of the Year Finalists

Seven finalists for the 2021 Colorado Teacher of the Year announced 

DENVER – The Colorado Department of Education announced today seven finalists for the 2021 Colorado Teacher of the Year competition with the sole finalist to be announced by the end of October.

Each year, the Colorado Teacher of the Year program recognizes an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled K-12 classroom teacher to represent the entire profession in Colorado. The sole finalist becomes Colorado’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year competition.

“This year has been exceptionally tough on our teachers. We can’t thank them enough for their dedication to teaching our students through all the challenges of COVID-19,” said Katy Anthes, Colorado’s education commissioner. “These seven educators have inspired me with their exceptional dedication to supporting their students and the high quality of their professional practice. Colorado would be proud to have any one of them represent the profession for our state.”

The Colorado Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by Denver 7. Award partners include the Colorado Education Association, Adams State University, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado Free Masons and Blue Bell Ice Cream. 

The 2021 finalists for Colorado Teacher of the Year are:
Anna Conrad (Harrison High School, Harrison School District Two)
Originally from Winter Park, Conrad is an English language arts and AVID teacher in Colorado Springs. Conrad completed a Teach for America program that placed her at Harrison High School, where she is completing her eighth year of teaching. Conrad was honored as the 2018 Colorado Springs Metro League Volleyball Coach of the Year and was named the district Teacher of the Year in 2019.
Lisa Crabtree (Fruita Monument High School, Mesa County Valley 51)
Lisa Crabtree is a social studies teacher at Fruita Monument High School and is in her 16th year with the school district. Crabtree strives to bring civic engagement opportunities to her school community. She has also coached speech and debate and mock trial teams at her school.
Holly Haverkorn (Mitchell High School, Colorado Springs School District 11)

Holly Haverkorn teaches drama and technical theatre at Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs, where she has been for nearly 15 years. Her focus is on theatre and production and she strives to create community performance opportunities for students in low-income areas. She was honored as a Crystal Apple Award Nominee for District 11 and the Colorado Thespian 2020 High School Educator of the Year.
Joe Hites (Vista Ridge High School, School District 49)
Joe Hites teaches health and leadership at Vista Ridge High School in Colorado Springs, where he is also the boys basketball coach. Hites mentors young teachers, conducts new teacher workshops and is a sought after keynote leadership speaker. He thrives on bringing subjects to life by working off a blueprint of conceptual teaching that students of all levels can benefit from in real-world applications. He was named the 2020 Vista Ridge High School Teacher of the Year.
Tricia Kearns (Webber Middle School, Poudre School District)
Tricia Kearns teaches science and health at Webber Middle School in Fort Collins. Kearns has taught for 17 years and is a fourth-generation educator. She is a National Geographic Certified Educator and serves as a teacher advisor for Scholastic’s Science World Magazine. She was recently awarded a teaching fellowship to travel with Ecology Project International, through which she will participate in a citizen science research project collecting data in the Sea of Cortez. Kearns has also served as her school’s head tennis coach for seven years.
Rachel Lamb (Inspire Elementary School, Denver Public Schools)
Rachel Lamb is a second-grade teacher at Inspire Elementary School in Denver. Lamb is known for lessons that are punctuated by real-world applications, layered by technology, design thinking and project-based subjects. Her perspective on education has resulted in becoming a National Board Certified Teacher, Nearpod Pionear, National Geographic Certified Educator, two-time TEDxABQ Education Speaker, Apple Distinguished Educator, PBS Digital Innovator, the Henry Ford Teacher Innovator and an ISTE Making IT Happen award recipient.
Gerardo Muñoz (Denver Center for International Studies, Denver Public Schools)
Gerardo Muñoz teaches high school and middle school social studies at the Denver Center for International Studies at Baker in Denver. Muñoz has been involved in a number of programs, initiatives, campaigns and organizations to promote equity and antiracism, including EduColor, Choose the National Education Association’s Racial and Social Justice Conference, and the University of Colorado’s Teachers of Color and Allies Summit. 

Visit this webpage for more information about the Colorado Teacher of the Year program.