Educator from Alvirne High named 2023 NH Teacher of the Year
CONCORD, NH — Christian Cheetham, a teacher at Alvirne High School in Hudson, was named New Hampshire’s 2023 Teacher of the Year during a surprise celebration on Monday.
Selected from a pool of 44 nominees, Cheetham was chosen for his exceptional teaching skills and profound dedication to his students. He will now serve as an ambassador for all of the excellent teachers throughout the state, and will be in the running for the National Teacher of the Year.
Colonel Cheetham has taught at Alvirne High School and the Wilbur H. Palmer Career and Technical Education Center for about seven years, and currently oversees the Air Force Junior ROTC elective course program for grades 9-12. The former Air Force officer says his classroom culture centers around teamwork, good manners, community service and mutual respect, while also pushing students beyond their comfort zone to instill resiliency and universal skills needed in today’s world.
“Colonel Cheetham has shown exemplary leadership abilities throughout his time as a teacher, and his commitment to excellence in education is obvious to those students who have had the pleasure of sitting in his classroom,” said Frank Edelblut, education commissioner. “He continues to teach students that today’s world is full of opportunities, and we commend his passion for collaborative teaching, taking on new initiatives and recognizing that all students are worthy.”
Principal Steve Beals of Alvirne High described Cheetham as a man with integrity, leadership and exceptional communication skills who has been an integral part of the school and community. “Chris is a wonderful leader with an infectious ability to share stories about his distinguished military career, support colleagues in and out of school, and support, through multiple service activities, our local American Legion and VFW organizations,” said Beals.
In his application essay, Cheetham wrote, “I think kids and adults are desperate for real experiences. Technology is robbing us of our humanity and I strive every day to bring the humanity back … In my opinion, our students are desperate for real mentoring relationships.” He went on to state that his true motivation is to teach students how to live their lives in ways that truly make them happy.
In December, the semi-finalists, finalists and Cheetham will be invited to a Leadership in Education Banquet to celebrate their accomplishments along with other distinguished educators in the state.
“The selection committee was overwhelmed with the high-caliber teachers considered for this award. New Hampshire is lucky to have such a devoted group of educators who are making a difference in the lives of our youth,” said Christine Brennan, deputy commissioner of education.
Valerie Sununu, New Hampshire's First Lady and member of the Teacher of the Year Selection Committee, congratulated all of the finalists and Colonel Cheetham, explaining New Hampshire is lucky to share and celebrate his journey and vision for education. "The New Hamsphire Teacher of the Year (program) is a precious space where we elevate the profession of educator and shine a light on the individuals who are guiding and inspiring our most valuable asset -- our students, our future," said Sununu.