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!

County Teachers of the Year for 2016 Presentation

County Teachers of the Year presentation slides

County Teachers of the Year for 2016

Gila County Gila County, Andrew Fiala

"I believe in a student-centered classroom where I am the "guide on the side" rather than the sage on the stage." I work hard to empower my students so that they have the ability to learn anything.

Pinal County Pinal County, Andrew Hensley

"One of my core belief, and what my students cite, as my classroom motto, is; "Actions become habits; habits become character; do the right thing!"

Graham County Graham County, Ashley Scorse

"Students need to feel loved and cared for, at school, before learning can take place. I try to make them feel loved by talking to them, asking them how their day/weekend was, and giving high fives or a pat on the back when necessary."

Yuma County Yuma County, Barbara Verkaik

"I try to impart the importance of mathematics to my students; whether we are taking notes, using student collaboration or hands-on learning; I want my students to learn at the best of their ability, and to know I am there to help them understand."

Cochise County Cochise County, Brenda Kilmurray

"My job is to educate the future of this great country and I get to entertain my students on a daily basis. Why is this important? Because laughter decreases stress and less stress leads to greater learning potential. Not only that, it creates a safe learning environment."

Apache County Apache County, Duane Yazzie

"First and foremost, I believe in developing the whole child. This means weaving together an educational experience that brings together academia across multiple core areas as well as other enrichment opportunities."

Greenlee County Greenlee County, Julie Baker

"I think of my instructional delivery as a story. It is the story of my student's lives. I give a lot of open ended questions, some written some oral. I try and have at least one question that connects the students to their lives so that the lessons are relevant."

Pima County Pima County, Katie Nicholas

"I believe an outstanding teacher should be accommodating for all students, a facilitator that makes lessons rigorous and relevant and gives students a hands-on approach that prepares them for future successes."

La Paz County La Paz County, Kristin Karlen

"Many of my students come from very difficult home situations so they already face the real world daily. Providing them with a safe, supportive environment encourages them to push through struggles and learn how capable they really are."

Coconino County Coconino County, Megan Courtney

"I feel education is more about guiding the students and giving them the opportunity to make their own discoveries. My job is to provide the tools for them to come to their own conclusions."

Navajo County Navajo County, Michael Eilertsen

"I joke about my job by saying, "I'm going to do what I love; if my students want to join me they are welcome." Simply, I love what I teach and I think my students can see that. I truly believe I have a dream job.

Yavapai County Yavapai County, Pradip C. Misra

"I have always believed that if you can get the attention of the students, then they will learn. I have made getting the attention of my students my teaching style. I want my teaching style to match their learning style."

Maricopa County Maricopa County, Rudy Basaldua

"I feel that all students have strengths, positive qualities and a desire to learn. It is my responsibility to make sure I figure out the unique characteristics of each student and how to use their gifts to make them successful."

Mohave County Mohave County, Tania Gray

"My instructional delivery is designed to engage students and revolves around my approachable teaching style and the ability to connect with my students. My words of encouragement are often the spark that transcends a student's life."

Santa Cruz County Santa Cruz County, Vanessa Alegria-Rivas

"Teaching is a world in itself it is an intimidating, exciting, challenging, intricate yet the most satisfying career. My mission is to instill the love of knowledge and the inspiration for discovery in my students."