Leading from the Classroom

Leading from the Classroom

www.nwea.org
A brand new season of Leading From the Classroom is here—a podcast series about the heart, hopes, struggles, and strengths teachers see in their classrooms every day. Each week, you’ll hear the 2018 Teachers of the Year share their personal stories ab


2018 Wyoming Teacher of the Year: Sara Reed
Jan 29 • 4 min
2018 Wyoming Teacher of the Year Sara Reed discusses the value of thinking outside the box—and why teachers who buck tradition are sometimes the most effective.
2018 Idaho Teacher of the Year: Becky Mitchell
Jan 29 • 4 min
2018 Idaho Teacher of the Year Becky Mitchell tells us why she believes asking kids what they want to be when they grow up is the wrong question to ask.
2018 Maine Teacher of the Year: Kaitlin Young
Jan 29 • 5 min
2018 Maine Teacher of the Year Kaitlin Young tells us what it was like to host a United States Senator at her school, and why she’s proud that her students took the opportunity to advocate for action on the issues they care about most.
2018 New Mexico Teacher of the Year: Ivonne Orozco
Jan 29 • 7 min
2018 New Mexico Teacher of the Year Ivonne Orozco tells us about her mission to support heritage language learners in her state.
2018 Montana Teacher of the Year: Melissa Romano
Jan 29 • 6 min
2018 Montana Teacher of the Year Melissa Romano shares the story of how she created a support system for a unique student—by creating a support system for herself.
2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year: Pilar Biller
Jan 27 • 4 min
2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year Pilar Biller shares the story of how a thank-you from a student taught her about the importance of accepting one’s self as a learner.
2018 Utah Teacher of the Year: Aaryn Birchell
Jan 27 • 6 min
2018 Utah Teacher of the Year Aaryn Birchell shares why she believes teachers thrive when they support one another.
2018 Missouri Teacher of the Year: Beth Davey
Jan 27 • 5 min
2018 Missouri Teacher of the Year Beth Davey shares the lessons she learned about privilege and resilience while using music to support her students in the aftermath of the 2014 shooting of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson.
2018 American Samoa Teacher of the Year: Rosalee Tela-Shoulders
Jan 27 • 3 min
2018 American Samoa Teacher of the Year Rosalee Tela-Shoulders shares how a former troublemaker gave her a new perspective on forgiveness and empathy.
2018 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year: Cara Pekarcik
Jan 27 • 4 min
2018 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Cara Pekarcik tells us about how life as a foster parent has helped expand her perspective on challenging students in her classroom.
2018 Colorado Teacher of the Year: Christina Randle
Jan 20 • 3 min
2018 Colorado Teacher of the Year Christina Randle talks to us about why every teacher needs a support system of other teachers.
Washington, DC Teacher of the Year: Paul Howard
Jan 20 • 4 min
2018 Washington, DC Teacher of the Year Paul Howard discusses the myth of the “perfect teacher,” and the pressure that puts on teachers to go above and beyond.
2018 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year: Kristin Hayes-Leite
Jan 20 • 6 min
2018 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year Kristin Hayes-Leite shares how a personal tragedy led her to see the power of collaboration among teachers.
2018 Alaska Teacher of the Year: Ben Walker
Jan 20 • 3 min
2018 Alaska Teacher of the Year Ben Walker discusses why recent teacher strikes have left him feeling optimistic.
2018 Delaware Teacher of the Year: Jinni Forcucci
Jan 20 • 5 min
2018 Delaware Teacher of the Year Jinni Forcucci shares the lessons she learned when her students took part in an organized protest against gun violence—and found a controversial way to express their dissent.
2018 Hawaii Teacher of the Year: Vanessa Ching
Jan 15 • 5 min
2018 Hawaii Teacher of the Year Vanessa Ching tells the story of Elena, a student whose response to injustice taught her a lesson about healing and forgiveness.
2018 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year: Heidi Crumrine
Jan 15 • 7 min
2018 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year Heidi Crumrine tells us the story of how she discovered just how powerful a teacher’s words can be.
2018 New York Teacher of the Year: Christopher Albrecht
Jan 15 • 6 min
2018 New York Teacher of the Year Christopher Albrecht tells us why he be believes connecting cultures is a proactive path to peace.
2018 Arizona Teacher of the Year: Josh Meibos
Jan 15 • 4 min
2018 Arizona Teacher of the Year Josh Meibos discusses his mission to bring back recess across his state, and the lessons he’s learned about recess in his own school.
2018 North Carolina Teacher of the Year: Lisa Godwin
Jan 13 • 5 min
2018 North Carolina Teacher of the Year Lisa Godwin discusses why she believes that practicing vulnerability is essential for maintaining strong relationships with students.
2018 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year: Matthew Miller
Jan 13 • 4 min
2018 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year Matthew Miller shares why he believes every student should be guaranteed an opportunity to lead.
2018 Kansas Teacher of the Year: Sam Neill
Jan 13 • 7 min
2018 Kansas Teacher of the Year Sam Neill tells us about her mission to address the foster care crisis in her state—and why she believes that big changes start with being willing to take the first step.
2018 CNMI Teacher of the Year: Antenille Santos
Jan 13 • 5 min
2018 CNMI Teacher of the Year Antenille Santos discusses the power of being real with students.
2018 Vermont Teacher of the Year: Linda Cloutier-Namdar
Jan 8 • 6 min
2018 Vermont Teacher of the Year Linda Cloutier-Namdar shares why helping students grow should start with getting to know them.
2018 Oregon Teacher of the Year: Matthew Bacon-Brenes
Jan 8 • 7 min
2018 Oregon Teacher of the Year Matthew Bacon-Brenes shares how he forged a bond with one of his most challenging classes—by presenting his commitment to his students in the context of the Japanese history they were studying.
2018 Virginia Teacher of the Year: Michelle Cottrell-Williams
Jan 8 • 3 min
2018 Virginia Teacher of the Year Michelle Cottrell-Williams discusses the power a single voice can have—and how one student learned to use his in the wake of the Parkland shooting.
2018 South Dakota Teacher of the Year: Rachel Schaefer
Jan 8 • 4 min
2018 South Dakota Teacher of the Year Rachel Schaefer discusses why she believes support between teachers is critical to the job.
2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year: Randi House
Jan 6 • 4 min
2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Randi House discusses how she learned to think less about standards and more about what’s best for keeping students engaged.
2018 Maryland Teacher of the Year: Josh Carroll
Jan 6 • 4 min
2018 Maryland Teacher of the Year Josh Carroll discusses the devastating impact of climate change on schools in his state, and how some communities are adapting to support affected students.
2018 Iowa Teacher of the Year: Aileen Sullivan
Jan 6 • 5 min
2018 Iowa Teacher of the Year Aileen Sullivan discusses the importance of starting high school with a clean slate—and how she spearheaded an innovative new movement to give extra support to new freshman students.
2018 California Teacher of the Year: Brian McDaniel
Jan 6 • 3 min
2018 California Teacher of the Year Brian McDaniel shares the lessons he learned through supporting a non-verbal student in his choir class.
2018 Nebraska Teacher of the Year: Michelle Helt
Jan 2 • 4 min
2018 Nebraska Teacher of the Year Michelle Helt shares how a visit to The Primary School renewed her faith in herself as a teacher.
2018 Florida Teacher of the Year: Tammy Jerkins
Jan 2 • 5 min
2018 Florida Teacher of the Year Tammy Jerkins shares the challenges of keeping teachers in education—and why supporting new teachers is critical to student success.
2018 Minnesota Teacher of the Year: Corey Bulman
Jan 2 • 6 min
2018 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Corey Bulman discusses the power of teacher-student relationships, and why emotional support is a critical part of his job.
2018 Michigan Teacher of the Year: Luke Wilcox
Jan 2 • 5 min
2018 Michigan Teacher of the Year Luke Wilcox explains why preparing kids for tomorrow’s workforce isn’t just good for them—and why it’s critical to the economy.
2018 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year: Michael Soskil
Dec 18, 2018 • 5 min
2018 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year Michael Soskil shares the powerful lessons he and his class learned when they partnered with students from Kibera, Nairobi.
2018 New Jersey Teacher of the Year: Amy Andersen
Dec 18, 2018 • 3 min
2018 New Jersey Teacher of the Year Amy Andersen shares how her work with a hearing-impaired baby inspired her to use her voice to advocate for policy changes.
2018 Tennessee Teacher of the Year: Cicely Woodard
Dec 18, 2018 • 3 min
2018 Tennessee Teacher of the Year Cicely Woodard shares what can happen when a student hears four important words: “I believe in you.”
2018 North Dakota Teacher of the Year: Leah Juelke
Dec 16, 2018 • 6 min
2018 North Dakota Teacher of the Year Leah Juelke discuss the power of “empathetic teaching,” and how one project about immigration brought her entire school together.
2018 Ohio Teacher of the Year: Jonathan Juravich
Dec 16, 2018 • 6 min
2018 Ohio Teacher of the Year Jonathan Juravich tells us about Eva, a student with autism who showed him the power of an inclusive community.
2018 Illinois Teacher of the Year: Lindsey Jensen
Dec 16, 2018 • 5 min
2018 Illinois Teacher of the Year Lindsey Jensen tells us the story of how meeting a rude stranger on a plane helped her understand why she’s meant to be a teacher.
2018 South Carolina Teacher of the Year: Erin Fox
Dec 11, 2018 • 5 min
2018 South Carolina Teacher of the Year Erin Fox tells the story of how she turned her failures at Space Camp into inspiration for a summer literacy program in her district.
2018 Louisiana Teacher of the Year: Kimberly Eckert
Dec 11, 2018 • 7 min
2018 Louisiana Teacher of the Year Kimberly Eckert shares a story of how in just one hour, two students helped her understand her mission as an educator.
2018 Georgia Teacher of the Year: John Tibbets
Dec 11, 2018 • 4 min
2018 Georgia Teacher of the Year John Tibbets discusses the impact of teacher evaluations on the classroom, and why he believes major change depends upon teachers having agency.
2018 Washington Teacher of the Year and National Teacher of the Year: Mandy Manning
Dec 7, 2018 • 5 min
2018 Washington Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning shares how an entire program came together to support a young refugee mother.
2018 Indiana Teacher of the Year: Jerome Flewelling
Dec 7, 2018 • 5 min
o 2018 Indiana Teacher of the Year Jerome Flewelling tells the story of what happened when he challenged his students to engage with physics—and build their own catapults.
2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year: Jon Hazell
Dec 7, 2018 • 5 min
o 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Jon Hazell tells the story of the most important career decision he ever made.
Coming Soon: Leading from the Classroom, Season 3!
Dec 6, 2018 • 1 min
Preview upcoming episodes of Leading from the Classroom with the 2018 Teachers of the Year!
2017 South Dakota Teacher of the Year: Beth Kaltsulas
Jan 28, 2018 • 5 min
2017 South Dakota Teacher of the Year Beth Katsulas tells us how she reluctantly joined social media—and then harnessed its power for positive change.
2017 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year: Rebecca Foxwell
Jan 28, 2018 • 5 min
2017 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year Rebecca Foxwell tells the story of the student that showed her the power of student-teacher relationships.
2017 Mississippi Teacher of the Year: Jodi McKenzie
Jan 28, 2018 • 4 min
2017 Mississippi Teacher of the Year Jodie McKenzie tells us about her recent journey to the Mississippi Delta, and what it taught her about being a voice for the educators in her state.
2017 West Virginia Teacher of the Year: Toni Poling
Jan 28, 2018 • 3 min
2017 West Virginia Teacher of the Year Toni Poling tells us why her son didn’t think she should have won—and how that has inspired her to celebrate all of the other teachers in her state.
2017 Washington Teacher of the Year: Camille Jones
Jan 28, 2018 • 3 min
2017 Washington Teacher of the Year Camille Jones discusses the power of sharing our fears, and how it can lead to remarkable achievements.
2017 North Dakota Teacher of the Year: Nanci Dauwen
Jan 23, 2018 • 4 min
2017 North Dakota Teacher of the Year Nanci Dauwen shares the story of how she decided to use her platform to make a difference—by honoring the inspiring teachers who didn’t win.
2017 Utah Teacher of the Year: Valerie Gates
Jan 23, 2018 • 5 min
2017 Utah Teacher of the Year Valerie Gates shares the tragic impact of immigration raids on student lives.
2017 Nebraska Teacher of the Year: Amber Vlasnik
Jan 23, 2018 • 3 min
2017 Nebraska Teacher of the Year Amber Vlasnik discusses her recent trip to Finland, and the unexpected lesson she got when she met Finnish students.
2017 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year: Nikos Giannopoulos
Jan 23, 2018 • 2 min
2017 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year Nikos Giannapoulos tells us why his greatest successes have come from helping students achieve their dreams.
2017 Nevada Teacher of the Year: Pam Ertel
Jan 21, 2018 • 3 min
2017 Nevada Teacher of the Year Pam Ertel discusses why “words matter,” and how our word choices in the present are affecting students in the future.
2017 Michigan Teacher of the Year: Tracy Horodyski
Jan 21, 2018 • 6 min
2017 Michigan Teacher of the Year Tracy Horodyski tells us about a student named Caesar, and what he learned while writing his very first poem.
2017 Virginia Teacher of the Year: Toney L. McNair, Jr.
Jan 21, 2018 • 5 min
2017 Virginia Teacher of the Year Toney McNair tells us how a casual shopping trip gave him a realization that would change how he thought of teachers.
2017 Maine Teacher of the Year: Tammy Ranger
Jan 21, 2018 • 5 min
2017 Maine Teacher of the Year Tammy Ranger shares her perspective on school choice—and tells us why it’s vital that policy-makers hear from teachers to enable positive change.
2017 North Carolina Teacher of the Year: Bobbie Cavnar
Jan 16, 2018 • 5 min
2017 North Carolina Teacher of the Year Bobbie Cavnar discusses why it’s important for teachers to “throw away the script and give them what they really need.”
2017 Florida Teacher of the Year: Jessica Solano
Jan 16, 2018 • 5 min
2017 Florida Teacher of the Year Jessica Solano tells us why it’s not enough to involve parents—and why for students to thrive, teachers need to engage parents through powerful practices like home visits.
2017 Louisiana Teacher of the Year: Joni Smith
Jan 16, 2018 • 3 min
2017 Louisiana Teacher of the Year Joni Smith tells the story of how she found her teacher voice, and why she’s using it to keep policy debates focused on what’s best for kids.
2017 Washington, D.C. Teacher of the Year: Elizabeth Dewhurst
Jan 16, 2018 • 4 min
Listen in as 2017 Washington, D.C. Teacher of the Year Elizabeth Dewhurst tells the story of how having a support system of educators has made her a more teacher.
2017 Texas Teacher of the Year: Allison Ashley
Jan 14, 2018 • 4 min
2017 Texas Teacher of the Year Allison Ashley shares what it was like to be one of the architects of her state’s educational standards.
2017 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year: Chris Gleason
Jan 14, 2018 • 2 min
2017 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year Chris Gleason discusses why teaching for him isn’t just about what students achieve—it’s also about seeing their potential.
2017 New Jersey Teacher of the Year: Argine Safari
Jan 14, 2018 • 6 min
2017 New Jersey Teacher of the Year Argine Safari shares how she uses music to support her students during times of fear and uncertainty.
2017 Missouri Teacher of the Year: Darbie Valenti
Jan 14, 2018 • 5 min
2017 Missouri Teacher of the Year Darbie Valenti shares why she believes STEM lessons are “the great equalizer in the classroom.”
2017 Wyoming Teacher of the Year: Ryan Fuhrman
Jan 9, 2018 • 3 min
2017 Wyoming Teacher of the Year Ryan Fuhrman tells the story of how a trip to space camp changed his perspective on his own self-worth.
2017 South Carolina Teacher of the Year: Jennifer Wise
Jan 9, 2018 • 4 min
2017 South Carolina Teacher of the Year Jennifer Wise tells us about the Teacher of the Year who inspired her the most: her mother.
2017 Illinois Teacher of the Year: Ricardo Castro
Jan 9, 2018 • 6 min
2017 Illinois Teacher of the Year Ricardo Castro tells us what it was like to meet Donald Trump—and why their exchange was a “moment that mattered.”
2017 Vermont Teacher of the Year: Kate McCann
Jan 9, 2018 • 4 min
2017 Vermont Teacher of the Year Kate McCann tells the story of how, with a little inspiration, she became the one-woman show behind Vermont’s first state math fair.
2017 New York Teacher of the Year: Amy Hysick
Jan 7, 2018 • 6 min
2017 New York Teacher of the Year Amy Hysick shares the story of the one student she almost lost—and how she inspired him to believe in himself.
2017 Idaho Teacher of the Year: Mary Spiker
Jan 7, 2018 • 3 min
2017 Idaho Teacher of the Year Mary Spiker was asked to talk to the U.S. Senate about the fun parts of her job—but she had a much more important message to deliver.
2017 Kansas Teacher of the Year: Jason Sickel
Jan 7, 2018 • 4 min
2017 Kansas Teacher of the Year Jason Sickel discusses why he believes that teaching starts with understanding each student’s story.
2017 Oregon Teacher of the Year: Gloria Pereyra-Robertson
Jan 7, 2018 • 4 min
2017 Oregon Teacher of the Year Gloria Pereyra-Robertson tells the story of a parent who voiced concerns about her ethnicity—and the surprising inspiration it lead to.
2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year: Casey Bethel
Jan 4, 2018 • 6 min
2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year Casey Bethel believes that teaching is like a tree—and shares why it’s important to honor every single branch.
2017 Iowa Teacher of the Year: Shelly Vroegh
Jan 4, 2018 • 6 min
2017 Iowa Teacher of the Year Shelly Vroegh discusses the gardening analogy that she says changed the way teachers in her school support one another.
2017 Maryland Teacher of the Year: Sia Kyriakakos
Jan 4, 2018 • 5 min
2017 Maryland Teacher of the Year Sia Kyriakakos tells us how her students and local law-makers inspired her to become a force for change.
2017 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year: Tate Aldrich
Jan 4, 2018 • 2 min
2017 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year Tate Aldrich talks about one of the most challenging speeches he’s ever given—the commencement address at his own high school.
2017 Delaware Teacher of the Year: Wendy Turner
Dec 20, 2017 • 4 min
Hear Delaware 2017 Teacher of the Year Wendy Turner explain why moving forward together means believing in each other.
2017 Alaska Teacher of the Year: James Harris
Dec 20, 2017 • 4 min
2017 Alaska Teacher of the Year James Harris shares why the collective voice of a movement has been “the best gift of this year.”
2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year: Courtney Cochran
Dec 20, 2017 • 3 min
2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Courtney Cochran shares how her father’s passing helped her understand the profound impact educators can have on students’ lives.
2017 Tennessee Teacher of the Year: Derek Voiles
Dec 17, 2017 • 4 min
When 2017 Tennessee Teacher of the Year Derek Voiles reached out to a special student, he learned a new lesson about the power of student-teacher relationships.
2017 Connecticut Teacher of the Year: Lauren Danner
Dec 17, 2017 • 7 min
2017 Connecticut Teacher of the Year Lauren Danner discusses how stepping out of her comfort zone lead her to become a better educator.
2017 California Teacher of the Year: Megan Gross
Dec 17, 2017 • 5 min
2017 California Teacher of the Year Megan Gross shares her unique perspective as a Special Education teacher—and tells the story of how working together with other passionate educators showed her the power of collaboration across disciplines.
2017 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year & 2017 National Teacher of the Year: Sydney Chaffee
Dec 12, 2017 • 4 min
2017 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year and 2017 National Teacher of the Year Sydney Chaffee shares why she believes finding common ground is central to learning.
2017 Department of Defense Education Activity Teacher of the Year: Kelisa Wing
Dec 12, 2017 • 4 min
2017 DODEA Teacher of the Year Kelisa Wing was ready to meet her hero, Congressman John Lewis—then a magical moment in the Oval Office changed everything.
2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year: Sean Wybrant
Dec 12, 2017 • 7 min
Colorado’s 2017 Teacher of the Year Sean Wybrant went searching for a platform—and found the perfect one in his own classroom.
2017 Alabama Teacher of the Year: Dana Jacobsen
Dec 10, 2017 • 3 min
2017 Alabama Teacher of the Year Dana Jacobson shares the story of a dedicated student who inspired her to become an advocate for hopes and dreams.
2017 Minnesota Teacher of the Year: Abdul Wright
Dec 10, 2017 • 5 min
2017 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Abdul Wright knows how he’s going to change the world: through the hearts and minds of students.
2017 Indiana Teacher of the Year: Jitka Nelson
Dec 10, 2017 • 4 min
2017 Indiana Teacher of the Year Jitka Nelson tells us why some English Language Learner students need teachers that “stand with them and for them.”