Arizona Educational Foundation announces Arizona's Top 10 Teachers - AZEdNews
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Arizona Educational Foundation announces Arizona’s Top 10 Teachers

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  • Maggie Zehring/ Arizona Educational Foundation

Josh Meibos, Arizona's 2018 Arizona Teacher Of The Year At The Arizona Educational Foundation's Teacher Of The Year Luncheon. Photo Courtesy Arizona Educational Foundation

The Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) announced the five Ambassadors for Excellence and five Semifinalists of the Arizona Teacher of the Year program Friday.

One of the five ambassadors will receive the coveted title of 2019 AEF Arizona Teacher of the Year at the annual awards luncheon on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at the Arizona Biltmore and be in the running for the National Teacher of the Year title.

Arizona Educational Foundation announces Arizona's Top 10 Teachers Arizona-Educational-Foundation-LogoAEF’s annual Teacher of the Year program is the only statewide program to spotlight and honor Arizona’s public school teachers.

The five 2019 Ambassadors for Excellence – one of whom will be named the 2019 AEF Arizona Teacher of the Year – are:

  • Maria Barker, Preschool Teacher at Red Mountain Center for Early Education of Mesa Public Schools, Mesa;
  • Lee Ann Howell, 7th Grade Science Teacher at Colonel Smith Middle School of Fort Huachuca Accommodation School District, Fort Huachuca;
  • Sheri Loyd, 3rd Grade ELA and Math Teacher at Mountain View School of Dysart Unified School District, Waddell;
  • Kareem Neal, Self-Contained Special Education Teacher at Maryvale High School of Phoenix Union High School District, Phoenix;
  • Jonathan Perrone, 8th Grade STEAM Teacher at Mountain Sky Middle School of Washington Elementary School District, Phoenix.

Five additional teachers were selected as Semifinalists (not in contention for the 2019 Teacher of the Year award):

  • Joshua Farr, 10th – 12th Grade Science Teacher at Cienega High School of Vail Unified School District, Vail;
  • Amy Komitzky Henning, English and ELA Teacher at Chandler School of Chandler Unified School District, Chandler;
  • Benjamin Lebovitz, Choir and Drama Teacher at Walden Grove High School of Sahuarita Unified School District, Sahuarita;
  • Rachel Lodge, 9th Grade History Teacher at Flowing Wells High School of Flowing Wells Unified School District, Tucson;
  • Dr. Lettice Pelotte, English and History Teacher at Metro Tech High School of Phoenix Union High School District, Phoenix.

All ten teachers will be honored during the awards luncheon on Thursday, October 25, 2018 from  11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Arizona Biltmore, 2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix 85016.

Tickets and table sponsorship can be purchased at

Please note: the Teacher of the Year is announced at the luncheon for the first time. AEF does not release the name of the Teacher of the Year before the official announcement at the awards luncheon.

More than 500 attendees are expected, including Arizona educators, elected officials and business leaders. Please email Kim Graham ( for high resolution photos.


The AEF™ Arizona Teacher of the Year program spotlights the contributions of outstanding public school teachers throughout Arizona by annually recognizing 10 exceptionally skilled and dedicated pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public school teachers.

To be considered for the award, teacher candidates must submit a written application that is reviewed by a panel of judges consisting of educators and members of the business community. Ten finalists are selected from the written applications. The 10 finalists are asked to prepare a 15-minute unedited video teaching in the classroom. The final selection process includes review of the video, an interview and an impromptu speech by each of the 10 finalists.

Following that process, the Teacher of the Year is selected, four “Ambassadors for Excellence” are selected and five remain Semifinalists. All 10 are honored at the annual awards luncheon. The Teacher of the Year and Ambassadors have multiple opportunities during the year to make public appearances throughout the state, speaking to professional, civic, educational, parent and student groups. Former Teachers of the Year, Ambassadors and Semifinalists are ineligible to reapply for the award.

Please contact Bobbie O’Boyle ( and Kim Graham ( for inquiries.