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DOE selects 11 Teacher of the Year Semifinalists

Candidates share how they shifted their classrooms for remote instruction

For Immediate Release
June 22, 2020

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CONCORD- The New Hampshire Department of Education today announced 11 semi-finalists for the 2021 NH Teacher of the Year award. These semi-finalists selected from 30 nominees announced earlier this month are: 

  • Alyssa Balboni, Third-Fourth Grade, Parker-Varney, Manchester
  • Danielle Boutin, ELL, Ledge St School, Nashua
  • Sarah Carlson, Third Grade, Plymouth Elementary
  • Maryanne Cullinan, Enrichment (ELP), Great Brook Middle School, Antrim
  • Christina Duffy, Social Studies, Hampton Academy
  • Lauren Elliott, First Grade, Winchester School
  • Steven Juster, English, Londonderry High School
  • Jay Keough, Criminal Justice, Spaulding High School R.W. Creteau Regional Technology Center, Rochester
  • Kathleen McCaffrey-Pomerleau, Second Grade, Main Street School, Exeter
  • Benjamin Rodon, Humanities, Amherst Middle School
  • Tina Sturdivant, Biology, Pinkerton Academy, Derry

The Teacher of the Year selection process begins at the nomination level where teachers may be nominated by peers, administrators, parents, students or community members as being exceptional. Each of these educators were nominated for their exemplary service in education, dedication to their students and commitment to improving education. The Teacher of the Year Program does not attempt to single out any individual as the best teacher in New Hampshire, but rather to honor one teacher who represents all the excellent teachers in our State.

“Through the Teacher of the Year program, I’ve been able to learn remotely from teachers across New Hampshire, from Sarah Carlson using the lessons of the ChooseLove program in Plymouth to Jay Keough’s criminal justice class in Rochester,” said Christine Brennan, Deputy Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education. “The Teacher of the Year selection committee has had a hard time narrowing down a field of incredible candidates to these semi-finalists, and our job picking a recipient will be even harder.”

In lieu of site visits this spring, Teacher of the Year candidates were asked to submit videos highlighting how they made the shift to remote instruction. A selection of these videos from the semi-finalists can be viewed on the Department’s YouTube channel.

The next step in the selection process will examine the candidates’ public speaking skills. The semi-finalists will come to the department and respond to the selection committee to the question: “What is your platform and how can you use that to elevate the teaching profession?” The selection committee will select finalists and hopes to visit their schools in September, with a final recipient selected in October. The 2021 Teacher of the Year will be New Hampshire entrant in the National Teacher of the Year program, and will be honored along with finalists and semi-finalists at the Department’s annual Celebrating Leadership in Education Awards.

The National Teacher of the Year program, run by the Council of Chief State School Officers and presented by Voya Financial, identifies exceptional teachers in the country, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, amplifies their voices, and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels. In New Hampshire, Geskus Studios and Yearbook Publishing is proud to partner with the NH DOE to help sponsor the New Hampshire Teacher of the Year program.

The NH Teacher of the Year program honors outstanding Pre-K through high school teachers who represent the positive contributions of all the excellent educators statewide. The Department of Education not only administers and presents awards to recognize leadership in education, these national and statewide awards build community awareness of our educators while providing positive messages about the teaching profession as a whole. The purpose of the program is to select a teacher who is capable of speaking for and energizing, rejuvenating, and celebrating the teaching profession. By recognizing the state's many excellent educators, we hope to encourage more people to consider a career in education and remind all of us about the value of investing heavily in attracting and retaining the very best educators.

For more information, contact Lori Kincaid, New Hampshire Teacher of the Year Program Coordinator at [email protected]