University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

And the Nominees are….And the Winner is….

In The View from the OEP on October 31, 2012 at 11:40 am

Earlier this week, the Arkansas Department of Education announced the finalists for the 2012-13 Arkansas Teacher of the Year award. This year’s finalists are:

2011-12 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Kimberly Wilson, a high school visual arts teacher at Monticello High School with 16 years of teaching experience poses with President Barack Obama in recognition of her award.

Teachers are selected based on their teaching skills, as well as their dedication to students, parents and colleagues; demonstrated school and community leadership; ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and their commitment to their profession. Under Act 17 of the First Extraordinary Session of the 85th Arkansas General Assembly provides for the Arkansas Teacher of the Year recipient to take a year of paid administrative leave to serve in an advisory position as a non-voting member to the Arkansas State Board of Education and for professional development purposes.The winner of this year’s Arkansas Teacher Award will be announced in late November.

Other regional finalists named today are Alice Cooper of Jasper, Asha Foster of West Memphis, Angela Goodding of Monticello, Ashlee Hayes of Stuttgart, Kara Lenfestey of Batesville, Barbara McNeal of Walnut Ridge, Peggy Mills of Texarkana, Debra Nipper of Magnolia, Marybeth Norcross of North Little Rock, Lisa Pemberton of Benton, Cheryl Simmons of Searcy and Katrina Williamson of Ashdown. The OEP Congratulates all finalists on their accomplishments!

Also this week, the Milken Award was given to Ms Zsuzsanna Diamond, a fourth grade teacher at Otter Creek Elementary School in Little Rock. On Monday, Oct. 29 Governor Mike Beebe, Dr. Tom Kimbrell, Commissioner of Education, and Dr. Gary Stark of the Milken Family Foundation surprised her in the cafeteria of Otter Creek Elementary with a $25,000 check. According to the ADE News Release, “Diamond is recognized around her district as a passionate and creative educator with a special talent to connect with all kids. Her ability to foster an open, community type classroom environment has proven effective for students and has earned her the respect of her colleagues. She is highly involved in the school helping with everything from curriculum development to providing professional learning. Diamondʼs energy, enthusiasm and ability to understand studentsʼ diverse needs make her truly stand out. In recognition of all she has contributed, she was selected as one of ten participants from the Little Rock School District to attend the Exxon Mobil-Mickelson Math and Science Institute in 2011.”

The Milken award, which comes with an unrestricted payment of $25,000, honors exceptional educators for their work. Each recipient receives the award in a surprise ceremony. Educators do not apply for the award, nor are they aware they have been nominated for the honor.

This fall, about 40 educators around the country will receive Milken Educator Awards. The program has been administrated in Arkansas since 1991, and there have been 69 Milken Award winners so far in the state of Arkansas. You can read more about Ms. Diamond on the Little Rock School District’s announcement here. Congratulations to Zsuzsanna Diamond!

Check back with us in late November to see who is selected as the 2012-13 Arkansas Teacher of the Year!

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