A Hermitage elementary school teacher is among 15 regional finalists for the state’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.
Brenda Nolan, a kindergarten through third grade literacy and reading teacher at Hermitage Elementary School in the Hermitage School District, and 14 others will be recognized by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key on August 1 at an event at the Governor’s mansion where the four semi-finalists will be announced.
The regional finalists will each receive a $1,000 award made possible by a grant provided by the Walton Family Foundation, a long-time supporter of the program. The four state semi-finalists announced August 1 are selected from the 15 regional finalists. One of the four state semi-finalists will be named the 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, according to a news release from the Arkansas Department of Education.
The other 14 Teacher of the Year regional finalists are:
Raelin Duck-Schroeder, a ninth through 12th-grade Pre-AP English, AP English, General English, drama, and teacher cadets program teacher at Stuttgart High School in the Stuttgart School District.
Cana Able, a 10th and 11th grade English/language arts teacher at the Academies of West Memphis in the West Memphis School District.
Catherine Beckham, a 10th through 12th-grade grade Orientation to Teaching I and II and Senior Internships teacher at Mountain Home High School Career Academies in the Mountain Home School District.
Jennifer Brown, a kindergarten teacher at Walnut Ridge Elementary School in the Lawrence County School District.
Lindsey Duncan, a fourth-grade literacy teacher at Southside Elementary in the Cabot School District.
Mary Dunn, a sixth-grade special education teacher at the College Hill Middle School in the Texarkana School District.
Marcus Jones, a 10th through 12th-grade English teacher at the The Academies at Jonesboro High School in the Jonesboro School District.
Joel Lookadoo, a ninth-grade algebra I teacher at Lakeside Junior High School in the Springdale School District.
Clarissa Mays, ninth through 12th-grade EAST and computer science teacher at Arkadelphia High School in the Arkadelphia School District.
Barry Reese, a fifth through eighth-grade history teacher at Lead Hill Elementary School and Lead Hill High School in the Lead Hill School District.
Cassidy Smith, a third through sixth-grade gifted and talented education teacher at Central Elementary School in the Magnolia School District.
Melissa Spence, a first-grade teacher at Theodore Jones Elementary School in the Conway School District.
Dejah Stephens, a fifth and sixth-grade language arts and social studies teacher at Raymond F. Orr Elementary School in the Fort Smith School District.
Jeffrey Whitlow, a fifth-grade teacher at Don R. Roberts Elementary School in the Little Rock School District.
“I am extremely proud of each of these regional finalists,” Key said in an Arkansas Department of Education news release announcing the finalists. “From their tireless dedication to the teaching profession to their commitment to ensuring their students graduate prepared for college, career, and community engagement, these 15 educators are among the best of the best. With their hard work and dedication, we will achieve our vision of leading the nation in student-focused education.”
The Arkansas Teacher of the Year program is part of the National Teacher of the Year program, which recognizes teachers for their teaching and leadership skills. The 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, who will be announced this fall, will apply to become the 2020 National Teacher of the Year.