Arizona Education Association

Winter 2013

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WE ARE AEA! • WE ARE AEA! • WE ARE AEA! • WE ARE AEA! PEOPLE Names AEA Member One of 2013 Teacher of the Year Award Winners Last month, PEOPLE magazine announced the winners of its second annual "Teacher of the Year" Awards: Marsha Dionisio (Hugh J. Boyd Jr. Elementary School in Seaside, NJ), John Herber (Oakcrest Elementary School in Pensacola, Photo by Michael Lavine for PEOPLE Florida) ), Mary KurtMason (Pagosa Springs the way for a new generation of American High School in Pagosa Springs, Colorado), the leaders. Each winner was featured in the teaching team of Brenda Martinez, Radames October 28 issue of PEOPLE magazine, and Galarza, and Elissa Guarnero (A.L.B.A. School will receive $5000 ($4000 for their school and in Milwaukee, Wisconsin), Valencia Robinson $1000 for themselves). (New Smyrna Beach Middle School in Volusia, Almquist was selected as the "Readers' Florida), and PEOPLE's "Readers' Choice" Choice" winner by an online poll. He credits winner, Art Almquist (Tucson High Magnet his current and former students' support for School in Tucson, Arizona). his win. "They had an online campaign over Over the last 17 years, drama teacher Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram asking people Almquist has helped dozens of at-risk students to vote for me on the website." — some homeless, many from troubled homes The hardest part about winning, according — graduate and go on to college. He's inspired to Almquist, was keeping it a secret from his hundreds more to express themselves through students. "I got the call about a month before improvisation and original written works. "This the official announcement and I was just blown award has been a really wonderful validation away, but I couldn't share it with my students for me as a teacher," says Almquist. and that was really hard. When I finally got to When he first started teaching at the tell them they were just delighted and there 3,000-student school near the Mexican border, were tears and applause and they were so the theater had outdated equipment excited." and graffiti-stained chairs. Almquist Almquist and his wife were flown to New "went into fundraising overdrive" York City for a special luncheon on October and raised $125,000. While 18, honoring the winners. Almquist also had an producing plays that take on opportunity to meet NEA Vice President Lily topics as wide-ranging as AIDS, Eskelsen, who spoke at the ceremony. immigration, and issues faced by "We all remember those special teachers military families, he has built an who changed our lives, who helped us achieve, award-winning theater program, who set us on a path to becoming successful honored for the last six years by the adults," said Larry Hackett, editor, PEOPLE. American High School Theater Festival. "The winners of our 2013 contest are doing just PEOPLE's "Teacher of the Year" Awards that for their students, each in a different way." honor these extraordinary educators – Almquist hopes to use his 15 minutes of fame nominated by readers and selected by PEOPLE's to do something good locally by lobbying at editors with guidance from an all-star advisory the capitol to speak with state lawmakers about board of education professionals – who are education and funding issues. 2 changing the lives of their students and paving Winter.13advo.indd 38 38 Winter 2013/14 x AEA Advocate 11/4/13 3:23 PM

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