Three Tucson-area teachers named Raytheon Leaders in Education
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Three Tucson-area teachers named Raytheon Leaders in Education

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  • John B. Patterson/Raytheon Company


Three Tucson-area teachers have been awarded the inaugural Raytheon Leaders in Education Awards not only for their exceptional teaching skills, but also for their commitment to improving education outside of their classrooms.

The award was established to recognize and reward Pima County teachers in grades K-12 who are achieving outstanding classroom performance, demonstrating leadership in their schools and communities, and supporting their peers in a committed teacher workforce.

Three Tucson-area teachers named Raytheon Leaders in Education Group-Shot-e1453235144278

The the winners and six finalists of the Raytheon Leaders in Education Awards. Photo courtesy of Raytheon Company

The three award recipients were selected from among nine semi-finalists through an evaluation process that considered more than 100 individual applications by area teachers.

Raytheon will present each winning teacher with a $2,500 monetary gift, as well as an additional $2,500 matching gift to their respective schools. They will also be provided opportunities to meet with business and political leaders to share classroom success stories and find common ground in advocating for advancements in education.

“The response by so many teachers to our inaugural rewards for Pima County’s teachers indicates their need for our support as well as their passion for the profession,” said Jon Kasle, vice president, Communications, Raytheon Missile Systems. “The finalists and winners have demonstrated remarkable dedication to students and families, fellow educators and entire communities. Our business, and all other area employers, only benefit from a talented and strongly committed teacher workforce that is supported by the entire community.”

The awards were presented at “Let’s Talk ED: Teacher Workforce,” an education summit to address the challenges and opportunities of today’s teachers, that took place 7:30-11 a.m., Thursday, January 7, 2016, at the Tucson Convention Center. Proceeds from the event benefitted Tucson Values Teachers (TVT), which invests 94% of every dollar it raises in programs to support educators. TVT utilized its deep local connections with school systems to facilitate the awards submission, evaluation and selection process in partnership with Raytheon.

“Outstanding educators are among a community’s greatest assets,” said Marian Salzman, executive chair of the Tucson Values Teachers board of directors. “These awards stand out because of their strong focus on leadership, which also is important to business success.”

2015 Raytheon Leaders in Education Awards winners:


Three Tucson-area teachers named Raytheon Leaders in Education Ashley-Curtis-4-150x150Ashley Reed Curtis, 5th Grade Teacher, Vail Academy and High School, Vail Unified School District. Reed Curtis was featured in the U.S. Department of Education Newsletter and selected by the White House Initiative on Education Excellence; a Teacher of the Year at Cottonwood Elementary and recipient of the Optimist Partner in Education Award.


Three Tucson-area teachers named Raytheon Leaders in Education Sandy-Merz-2-150x150August (Sandy) Merz III, 8th Grade Engineering, Safford K-8 Magnet School, Tucson Unified School District. Merz was profiled in Huffington Post’s “A Teacher Like You” 2015 series; a Teacherpreneur at the Center for Teaching Quality and Arizona K12 Center; a certified Arizona Master Teacher; member of the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team, a national board-certified Professional Teaching Standards recipient and a winner of the Math Engineering and Science Achievement Southern Region Teacher of the Year.


Three Tucson-area teachers named Raytheon Leaders in Education Cymry-DeBoucher-1-150x150Cymry DeBoucher, Gifted Specialist, Honors Internship Coordinator, Canyon Del Oro High School, Amphitheater Public Schools District: DeBoucher is a recipient of the Amphitheater Distinguished Service Award, a 15-time recipient of the Pride of Amphitheater Award for her work as the Odyssey of the Mind coach and district leadership; and the only two-time recipient of the Arizona Odyssey of the Mind John Stewart Award for exceptional volunteerism.

 Award semi-finalists:

  • Svea Anderson, 4th Grade Teacher, Agua Caliente Elementary, Tanque Verde Unified School District
  • Jessica Howell, 3rd Grade Teacher, Hendricks Elementary, Flowing Wells Unified School District
  • Christina Nickerson, 6-8 Leadership and WEB, Desert Sky Middle School, Vail Unified School District
  • Scott Weiler, 6-8 Engineering, Robotics, and Coding, Amphitheater Middle School, Amphitheater Public Schools
  • Arthur Basurto, 9-12 Automotive Technology, Sunnyside High School, Sunnyside Unified School District
  • Helen Voysey, 9-12 Biology, Genetics, Marine & Environmental Biology, Rincon High School, Tucson Unified School District

For more information, please contact John B. Patterson at 520-440-2194 or