Arizona Rural
Schools Association
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County Teachers of the Year

Each year ARSA presents two prestigious awards to outstanding Arizona educators: the County Teachers of the Year Awards and the Arizona Teacher of the Year Award. Award winners receive plaques acknowledging their achievements and recognition. Please take a moment to view our County Teachers of the Year for 2016 listed below. Congratulations to all of you!

Cochise County Cochise County, Richard Paun
Douglas High School
Douglas USD

"As an educator, I believe in a quality well-rounded education for all students. I take pride in the ability to offer the students at Douglas High School a safe learning environment based on respect and compassion."

Coconino County Coconino County, Lela Shober
Williams Elementary-Middle School
Williams USD

"My teaching philosophy is best described with one quote: 'Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.' Creating an environment where students are involved in their own acquisition of knowledge is a priority in my classroom instruction. Students need to understand what they are learning, why they are learning, and how they will use their learning."

Gila County Gila County, Kevin Mart
Young Public School
Young ESD #5

"Teaching is the opportunity to bring into the life and mind of a learner a piece of knowledge, information, concept, idea, thought or experience that integrates, connects and impacts the student in some way, to promote curiosity, understanding, and learning. When using exciting methods, varying resources, and involving students, we can not only reach the student, but somehow engage him or her in the process of learning."

Graham County Graham County, Nicole Deem
Ruth Powell School
Safford USD

"I believe that all students have the ability to learn and grow when given the right instruction. For some students, simply showing them the steps and demonstrating the task is enough for them to confidently take on the assignment. Other students benefit from discussing the content with peers and the teacher. The extra support builds their understanding and allows them to become more comfortable with the content."

Greenlee County Greenlee County, Jared Collins
Morenci High School
Morenci USD #18

"My instructional delivery towards my students always begins with a togetherness approach. I do not like using the word 'I' in our classes. I like making it feel like a 'we' environment and treating the students like they are part of something bigger than band."

La Paz County La Paz County, Kathleen Baker
Parker High School
Parker USD

"One of the most important attributes of an outstanding teacher is passion, including passion for the kids, the subject you teach, and education as a whole. Passion creates that umbrella for things required of us to attain excellence."

Maricopa County Maricopa County, Kelli Lambrecht
Palo Verde Elementary
Palo Verse ESD #49

"I believe that every child deserves a quality education. It doesn't matter what language they speak, their socio-economic background, or their learning style. All students deserve to be taught in a way that is most beneficial for them."

Navajo County Navajo County, Faith Caffey
Holbrook High School
Holbrook USD #3

"We don't do this because we need a job, or because we love English or math. We teach because we must. It is about a love of children, a belief in our own ability to offer good change in people's lives, and a love of the community that can happen in the classroom."

Santa Cruz County Santa Cruz County, Yemille Peiro
Calabasas PreK-8
Santa Cruz Valley USD #35

"I believe that I am not just an outstanding teacher. I am an initiator of curiosity, a role model, mentor, coach, and a facilitator of learning. I strive to create a classroom environment that is community-based, in which respect, responsibility, fun, and teamwork are encouraged for success."

Yavapai County Yavapai County, Jessica Smith
Canon Elementary School
Canon ESD #50

"The driving factor that makes me an outstanding teacher is my love and passion for teaching students and the devotion I have towards my school! I have worked at Canon Elementary for over 10 years, and I feel like I have a great bond with students, families, and staff."

Yuma County Yuma County, Jean Berdin
Antelope High School
Antelope UHSD

"I have the 'teacher heart' that can reach out to my students. I am compassionate and empathetic. Every student is unique from every other, and each has a wonderful story to tell. I build rapport with each student by learning what makes him or her different."