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CCSSO Announces Finalists for 2021 National Teacher of the Year

AACTE congratulates the four National Teacher of the Year finalists, all of whom have earned a degree from an AACTE member institution. To view their full profiles, visit the CCSSO website.

CCSSO 2021 Teacher of the Year Finalists

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced that four exemplary educators from across the country are finalists for 2021 National Teacher of the Year:

  • John Arthur, the 2021 Utah Teacher of the Year, is a sixth-grade teacher whose students have gained national recognition as advocates for children and immigrants through the videos they create and share on their YouTube channel, 9thEvermore.
  • Alejandro Diasgranados, the 2021 District of Columbia Teacher of the Year, teaches fourth and fifth grade English and social studies, and has worked with community partners to ensure students have access to essentials like warm coats, laundry facilities, and laptops.
  • Maureen Stover, the 2021 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, is an Air Force veteran and high school biology and earth and environmental science teacher who seeks to provide clear pathways for students to successfully enter the career or college program of their choice upon graduation from high school.
  • Juliana Urtubey, the 2021 Nevada Teacher of the Year, is a National Board Certified elementary special education teacher known as “Ms. Earth” for her service and leadership in addressing critical issues of educational equity by unifying the school community through gardens and murals.

CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year Program identifies exceptional educators across the country, celebrates their work in and outside the classroom, and, through a one-of-a-kind professional development opportunity helps them amplify their voices and empowers them to take part in policy discussions at the state and national level.  

“We are honored to celebrate the devoted work of educators in this year like no other. All teachers across the country deserve our heartfelt gratitude for their tireless work throughout this pandemic, and I am in awe of the exemplary service of this year’s entire class of State Teachers of the Year,” said CCSSO Chief Executive Officer Carissa Moffat Miller. “Thank you to the selection committee for their work in selecting these finalists from such an outstanding group of educators. I offer my congratulations to the finalists for their inspiration in how they show up every day to meet the diverse needs of all their students.”

Each year, states, the District of Columbia, U.S. extra-state territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity select exemplary educators to serve as State Teachers of the Year. The 2021 cohort includes 56 educators. From that group, the National Teacher of the Year selection committee, which includes representatives from 16 education organizations, selects four finalists based on written applications.

The finalists announced today will complete virtual interviews with the National Teacher of the Year Program’s selection committee, and the 2021 National Teacher of the Year will be announced later this spring. The 2021 National Teacher of the Year will spend the next year serving as an ambassador for education and an advocate for all teachers and students.

“America’s educators have tackled the unprecedented challenges of teaching during the coronavirus pandemic with creative problem-solving, flexibility, and unwavering dedication to their students. Throughout, they have also worked to confront social and racial injustice and recognize the need for equitable educational opportunities for all students,” the selection committee said. “The finalists stand out as models of this creativity and dedication, committed to serving their students and communities with expertise and empathy. Any one of them would do an outstanding job as National Teacher of the Year.” 

 


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