This blog post details some of the awards and recognition Arizona teachers have earned this year. We salute them, and we know, for each one of these teachers, there are countless others across our state who work tirelessly and passionately for Arizona’s students, without recognition.

We invite you to recognize an Arizona teacher who expects more in the comments section below this post.

The one common theme among discussions about improving education in our community is the importance of effective teachers. Teachers are the backbone of our schools and one of the most important influences in our children’s education. As Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone states, “Watching a great teacher is like watching a work of art.”

Teachers throughout the state are making a huge impact in the lives of the students they teach. Whether inspiring a love of learning through play in the early years or preparing postsecondary students to enter the workforce after they graduate, teachers are making a lasting impact on Arizona’s education system every single day. However, teachers are often unsung heroes in our community, facing challenging circumstances in order to provide a quality-learning environment to students. It is critical our community takes the time to acknowledge the importance of teachers and recognize those who raise the bar and expect more of themselves and their students.

There are several programs in Arizona that highlight outstanding teachers. Just last week, the Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona recognized thirteen teachers from around the state as Rodel Exemplary Teachers. The teachers were identified from Maricopa County, Flagstaff and Tucson.

Maricopa County
Cean Colcord, Isaac Elementary
Linda Knoblock, Taft Elementary
Tina Merlina, Bret R. Tarver Elementary
Nicole Nipros, Maurice C. Cash Elementary
Linda Omer, Scales Technology Academy
Patricia Perkins, Cloves C. Campbell Elementary
Sakeenah Smith, Montebello/Alhambra Elementary
Phyllis Sunkett, Stevenson Elementary

Joe Caslin, Kinsey Elementary
Jennifer Mageary, Killip Elementary

Crystal Estrella, Rio Vista Elementary School
Kim Valdez, Gallego Basic Elementary School
Susanne Segroves, Cenntennial Elementary School

Amanda McAdams was recently selected as the 2011 Arizona Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year. Mrs. McAdams is a 10th grade English teacher and Student Council advisor at Apollo High School in Glendale.

In October, the Arizona Council for the Social Studies recognized Diane Godfrey, Kyrene del Pueblo Middle School and Carole Ambroziak, Doolen Middle School (Tucson) for excellent social studies teaching and learning. In addition, Stephanie Hall, a student in the College of Education at the University of Arizona was recognized and received a student teacher scholarship award.

Last August, Chicanos Por La Causa announced the 2010 Esperanza Latino Teacher Awards recipients: Guadalupe Meza, South Mountain High School; Jose Fernandez, Frye Elementary School; Josephine Salazar, San Marcos Elementary School; Oscar Olivas, Peoria High School; and Selina Alonzo, Maryvale High School.

These are just some examples of organizations and programs in our state that recognize excellent teachers. All of these teachers have standards of high expectations that earned them recognition. They inspire students in their classrooms to achieve at the highest levels. While these excelling teachers have been recognized for they great work they do in classrooms, there are countless other teachers across Arizona who work every day to ensure students are getting the education they need to compete, contribute and succeed.  Thank you to all teachers who are helping to ensure Arizona’s future by educating students today.

Expect More Arizona would like to invite you to recognize an exceptional teacher in our state. In the comments below, please show your appreciation for a teacher who encourages his/her students to meet high expectations.