Wolf, Rivera Discuss PA Teacher of the Year Candidates

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Acting Secretary Pedro Rivera announced yesterday the 12 finalists for the 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year.

“As a former educator, I am proud to call these professionals my colleagues because they understand that the job of educating our youth does not begin and end with a school bell,” Rivera said. “To truly impact the life of a student requires a commitment and passion that these educators demonstrate every day.”

The 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year finalists are:

Jolene Barron, Tamaqua Elementary School, Tamaqua Area School District, Schuylkill County
Kelly Dougherty, Liberty Bell Elementary, Southern Lehigh School District, Lehigh County
Rebecca Foxwell, Lickdale Elementary School, Northern Lebanon School District, Lebanon County
Pamela Gregg, Springton Lake Middle School, Rose Tree Media School District, Delaware County
Joe Harmon, Redbank Valley High School, Redbank Valley School District, Clarion County
Dina Howell, Penns Valley Area High School, Penns Valley Area School District, Centre County
Sharon Knight, Trinity High School, Trinity Area School District, Washington County
Jade Leung, Shaler Area High School, Shaler Area School District, Allegheny County
Alison Monk, Richland Elementary, Pine-Richland School District, Allegheny County
Kimberly Riviere, Penncrest High School, Rose Tree Media School District, Delaware County
Ann Schmidt, Conrad Weiser High School, Conrad Weiser Area School District, Berks County
Michele Shawver, Miles Township Elementary School, Penns Valley Area School District, Centre County

“These teachers, who have been selected as the top contenders for Pennsylvania’s Teacher of the Year, are shining examples of the outstanding people working every day to improve the lives of our children,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “We need to ensure that the educators in our classrooms have the resources and support to continue the important work of preparing children for a successful future.”

The 12 educators were nominated by students, parents, colleagues and members of the community who wish to recognize their achievements both in and outside the classroom.

“Governor Wolf and I share the belief that Pennsylvania is home to the finest students, educators, and school leaders in the nation,” Rivera said. “My goal as Acting Secretary is to restore Pennsylvania’s confidence in our public education system and promote the exceptional individuals, like our 12 finalists, working in our classrooms.”

The finalists must be prepared to effectively carry out the duties of the state’s Teacher of the Year, which will be announced in December 2015, including being Pennsylvania’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year. Pennsylvania’s Teacher of the Year program is co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania chapter of the National State Teacher of the Year, which was founded in 1995.

Pennsylvania’s 2015 Teacher of the Year is Mairi Cooper, who currently teaches Advanced Placement Music Theory, Orchestra, Piano and World Music in the Fox Chapel Area School District, Allegheny County. Cooper was named Teacher of the Year in December 2014.

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