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CCSSO Announces Finalists for 2023 National Teacher of the Year

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has announced five exemplary educators from across the country as finalists for 2023 National Teacher of the Year, four of whom have been prepared for teacher education by AACTE member institutions. 

AACTE is a proud member of the National Teacher of the Year Selection Committee and applauds each finalist for their commitment to the profession and meeting the needs of all students, as well as the AACTE member institutions that have contributed to their success.


Harlee Harvey, the 2023 Alaska Teacher of the Year, is a first-grade teacher who works to authentically integrate the local Alaska Native Iñupiaq culture and knowledge systems into her lessons. Read more about Harlee.



Carolyn Kielma, the 2023 Connecticut Teacher of the Year, is a high school science teacher who provides a trusted adult ear for students who need help, and who creates an inclusive environment where all students feel valued, accepted and treated with equity. Read more about Carolyn.



Jermar Rountree, the 2023 District of Columbia Teacher of the Year, is a preschool through 8th grade physical education and health teacher who emphasizes the importance of teaching mental health along with physical wellness and believes in the importance of involving family and community in all aspects of schooling. Read more about Jermar.



Kimberly Radostits, the 2023 Illinois Teacher of the Year, is a secondary Spanish teacher and teacher mentor who also leads a mentoring program for students that utilizes an early warning system to identify struggling students and ensures they’re on track to graduate in four years. Read more about Kimberly.



Rebecka Peterson, the 2023 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, is a high school math teacher who is passionate about making math exciting, relevant and accessible to all. She emphasizes listening to stories and helps administer the “One Good Thing” blog, which has chronicled positive stories from her classroom. Read more about Rebecka.


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

“Teachers across the country have met the extraordinary challenges of the last few years with dedication and ingenuity, helping students recover and setting them up for long-term success. CCSSO is proud to celebrate teachers across the country – from the coast of Alaska to Washington, D.C. and everywhere in between – through the National Teacher of the Year Program,” said CCSSO Chief Executive Officer Carissa Moffat Miller. “Congratulations to the finalists and thank you to the Selection Committee for your work in selecting finalists from among the outstanding 2023 State Teachers of the Year.” 

Each year, states, U.S. extra-state territories, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity select outstanding educators to serve as State Teachers of the Year. There are 55 teachers in the 2023 cohort. From that group, the National Teacher of the Year Selection Committee, comprised of 17 individuals and education organizations, selects finalists based on written applications.

The finalists will conduct interviews with the National Teacher of the Year Program’s Selection Committee, and CCSSO will announce the selected 2023 National Teacher of the Year later this spring. The 2023 National Teacher of the Year will spend the next year serving as an ambassador for education and an advocate for all teachers and students.

“We are proud to recognize teachers across the country, who undertake inspiring work for students every day. The finalists for 2023 National Teacher of the Year are exemplars of the profession, exuding passion for their work and committed to meeting the academic needs and prioritizing the wellbeing of all students,” the Selection Committee said in a statement. “The teachers work to incorporate community traditions and resources into their work while always keeping students at the center. Any of them would do an excellent job as the next National Teacher of the Year.”

For more information about the National Teacher of the Year Program, visit the National Teacher of the Year webpage.


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