Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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Teacher of the Year

Courtney Cochran Named 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Courtney Cochran, a Spanish teacher in the Van Buren School District, was named the 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year today during a surprise Nov. 3 at her school. 
 
Cochran, who just began her 11th year of teaching, was named one of four State Semi-Finalists Sept. 28 at a ceremony at the Capitol. After site visits, which included interviews and classroom observations at each of the four State Semi-Finalists’ schools, Cochran was selected as the 2017 ATOY. She is now eligible for the National Teacher of the Year honor, which will be announced in the spring. To learn more, go to http://bit.ly/2ffSIrD.
 
To view photos from the 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Announcement, go to http://bit.ly/2f2M3Ar.
 
ADE Commissioner Johnny Key, Kathy Smith of the Walton Family Foundation, State Board Members Diane Zook and Ouida Newton, 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Courney Cochran, 2016 ATOY Meghan Ables, Van Buren School District Superintendent Dr. Harold Jeffcoat, ADE Deputy Commissioner Mark Gotcher, Rep. Gary Deffenbaugh and Van Buren High School Principal Eddie Tipton.
 
 

Four Named 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year State Semi-Finalists

Left to right: ADE Commissioner Johnny Key, Julia Crane, Springdale School District: Brian Leonard, Lake Hamilton School District, Emma Mateo Little Rock School District; Courtney Cochran, Van Buren School District and Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key recognized the 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year State Semi-Finalists at a ceremony Sept. 28  at the Capitol. To view the press release, please go to http://bit.ly/2dE6YKs.

14 Selected as 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Fourteen teachers from around the state have been named 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists.
To learn about the 14 regional finalists are, please go to http://bit.ly/2cVTncS
 
To view the Recognition Ceremony video, please go to: http://bit.ly/2fhK7UO.

The classroom teacher is the backbone of the American education system. No one person has a greater impact on the education of a child than does the teacher who creates the primary learning and instructional environment The National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) program, which is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers in partnership with the Voya Foundation and People to People Ambassador Programs, began in 1952. The NTOY program continues as the oldest, most prestigious national honors program that focuses public attention on excellence in teaching. 

As part of the NTOY program, the Arkansas Teacher of Year program identifies, recognizes and utilizes representatives of excellent teaching in the elementary and secondary classrooms in Arkansas public schools.

The mission of the ATOY program is to promote the profession and recognize quality teachers who implement "best practices" in Arkansas public school classrooms. The ATOY program functions under the leadership of the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) in partnership with the State Board of Education.

Each public school district in Arkansas may select one teacher as its District Teacher of the Year and nominate that teacher for the ATOY.  

A selection panel assembled by the ADE will review the applications and select 16 regional finalists, one representing each education service cooperative area and one representing Pulaski County. The panel will select four state semi-finalists from among the regional finalists.

For more information about the nomination process, see Commissioner's Memo COM-16-072.

Meghan Ables Named 2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Meghan Ables, an English teacher at Stuttgart High School in the Stuttgart School District, was named the 2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year at a surprise event Dec. 7 at the school. Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key honored Ms. Ables at the event.
 
Ables is an 11th-grade English/literacy and journalism teacher. Because of her contribution to learning, student test scores have dramatically improved during her tenure at the district. Ables also serves as a leader at her school, having conducted professional development activities for using literacy techniques in the classroom. A native of Stuttgart and a graduate of Stuttgart High School, Ables received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism in 2002 from Arkansas State University at Jonesboro. To learn more, go to https://t.co/atdh9f0xAI.
 
Read Ables' blog! Go to https://arteachblog.wordpress.com

Dare to be Different Video Series

Led by 2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Meghan Ables, this series features passionate teachers engaging students with unique learning opportunites. Take a look at the first video in the series:
 
 

2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional and State Finalists Announced

Fifteen outstanding teachers from around the state have been selected as 2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. Gov. Asa Hutchinson recognized them at a ceremony Sept. 17 at the Capitol. The top four finalists were announced at the event.

To see pictures of the event, go to http://www.arkansased.gov/divisions/communications/photo-gallery/album/77. To view a video of the event, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWOTTNNHolw&feature=youtu.be.

Be sure to take a look at the 2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Recognition Publication that spotlights each of the ATOY finalists!

Profiles in Teacher Leadership Video Series

This series profiles examples of teacher leadership in Arkansas public schools. 

For more information, please contact:

John Kaminar, Special Projects Manager
Arkansas Department of Education
Office of Communications
Four Capitol Mall, Room 403-A
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone:  501-683-5188
Email: john.kaminar@arkansas.gov

State Standards

Learn more about the standards that define the knowledge and skills Arkansas students should have in order to be ready for college and careers.

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Licensure & Certification

Find critical information about renewing Arkansas educator licenses, adding areas of licensure, licensing by reciprocity from other states, background checks and more.

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