Three Tucson-area educators have been named candidates for the 2022 Arizona Teacher of the Year award.
The teacher who is named Arizona Teacher of the Year will be in the running for the National Teacher of the Year honor. Local candidates under consideration are:
Jessica England, a music and English language arts teacher at Sahuarita Middle School in the Sahuarita School District
Ashton Gildea, an English teacher at Walden Grove High School in the Sahuarita School District
Kristina Laborin, an English language arts, social studies and gifted education teacher at Old Vail Middle School in the Vail School District
Seven other teachers from around the state also are being considered. The teachers will undergo a final interview process, after which five will be named Ambassadors for Excellence and finalists for the state teacher of the year award.
Winnings for the Arizona Teacher of the Year include $15,000 from the Arizona Educational Foundation and travel paid to attend several National Teacher of the Year events including a trip to the White House to meet the U.S. president and a weeklong trip to International Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.
The top 10 teachers receive a free membership to Treasures4Teachers, scholarships from the Arizona K12 Center to pursue National Board Certification, on-field recognition during the Fiesta Bowl, and the opportunity to ride on the APS fire engine during the Fiesta Bowl Parade.
Any certified full-time teacher working in an Arizona state-accredited public school or Bureau of Indian Education school is eligible for nomination. Teachers can self-nominate, and students, colleagues, administrators, family members and friends can also submit nominations.
Teen takes 2nd in Braille finals
Joey Parra, a Tucson student who is visually impaired, placed second in the varsity category (for grades 10th through 12th) at the 2021 Braille Challenge Finals.
The Braille Challenge is an academic competition for students who are blind or visually impaired. It motivates students in Grades 1-12 to hone and practice their braille literacy skills.
Students receive toys, supplies
Students and families of the Tohono O’odham Nation were surprised with toys and school supplies donated by the A.C. Green Youth Foundation, founded by NBA all-star A.C. Green.
The foundation works to provide under-served youth and the communities they live in with resources, materials and support.
Green recently traveled to Arizona to distribute materials to Native American children in several reservation communities as part of his foundation’s “Christmas in July” program, a news release said. The foundation was connected with the Tohono O’odham Nation through Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA), a nonprofit organization that serves Native Americans living on remote and impoverished reservations throughout the Southwest and Northern Plains.
PWNA responds to immediate needs on reservations but also works with reservation partners to help create and champion programs that will foster long-term solutions. Reservation communities in Arizona and throughout the country have faced many challenges, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including reduced access to education as schools remained closed and students often did not have internet access at home, the news release said.