News Brief

Thursday, January 19, 2012

CCSSO Announces Finalists for 2012 National Teacher of the Year

AL, CA, DoDEA, and FL Public School Teachers in Running to Receive Nation’s Top Teaching HonorThe Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced the four finalists for the 2012 National Teacher of the Year today. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the program, which honors educators representing the teaching profession as their State Teacher of the Year. This prestigious program allows teachers from across the country to collaborate with policy makers at every level and advocate on behalf of the teaching profession. The four finalists for 2012 are listed below. 


Gay Barnes-2012 Alabama Teacher of the Year

Gay Barnes is a first grade teacher in the suburban area of Madison, Alabama. She has taught at Horizon Elementary School for seven years, and has 21 total years of teaching experience. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1987 and received a Doctor of Philosophy in Literacy/Reading from Alabama A&M University in 2007. In addition to her teaching duties, Gay serves as a member of the Alabama State Department of Education Assessment and Accountability Task Force. She prides herself on her commitment to helping struggling students. Over her 20 years of teaching, she has held onto the notion that her teaching style should reflect what kind of teacher she would want her own children to have. She says, "I am in charge of knowing my students as individual learners, knowing what they need to learn and how to plan and teach lessons that will take them to the next level of their learning."

Rebecca Lynn Mieliwocki-2012 California Teacher of the Year

Rebecca Lynn Mieliwocki is a seventh grade English teacher at Luther Burbank Middle School, which houses 1100 students. She has been teaching for 14 years and has spent 9 years in her current position. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from California Polytechnic State University. She received the PTA Honorary Service Award in 2009 and served as a teacher expert for CSUN College of Education Panel titled "Managing the Paper Load." A child of two veteran public school teachers caused Rebecca to shy away from becoming a teacher early in life, but realized that there is "no nobler profession" than teaching. Her own K-12 teachers serve as her heroes and she models her teaching style on the example they set for her. She works hard to provide her students with an exciting and dynamic lesson that is both educational and amusing-because her students learn better in this environment. She believes strongly in the importance of good teacher preparation programs and values the teaching profession as a sought-after career. She says, "I firmly believe that teachers must be held accountable for their students' success, from helping them meet personal or school-wide learning goals to achieving on district and state level assessments."

Angela Wilson-2012 Department of Defense Education Activity Teacher of the Year

Angela Wilson is a seventh grade Language Arts and Forensics teacher at Vicenza Middle School in Italy. She has 11 years of teaching experience and has been in her current position for 2 years. Angela hold Bachelor of Science in Education from Western Illinois University and received a Master of Education degree in 2010 from Southern Utah University. She currently co-chairs the Continuous School Improvement Committee and was named the Top Gifted and Talented Teacher at Youth University Summer Program at Western Illinois University in 1998. Angela places great value on the personal connections she makes with her students, especially teaching students in military families who often have a parent deployed to a war zone. Her teaching style reflects her energetic personality, and says, "I will never teach a principle in only one way, because I know that classrooms host an eclectic collection of minds, abilities, insecurities, desires and interests."

Alvin Aureliano Davis-2012 Florida Teacher of the Year

Alvin Aureliano Davis is a music teacher at Miramar High School in Miramar, Florida. He has taught a total of 11 years, the last eight at Miramar, a school of 2,760 students. He received a Bachelor of Science from Florida A&M University in 2000 and has been teaching music ever since. I addition to being Florida's Teacher of the Year, Alvin is the recipient of numerous teaching honors, including the U.S. Congressional Record of Exemplary Service and Dedication. In 2011, the city of Miramar named July 7, 2011 Alvin A. Davis Day. Fascinated by music from a young age, Davis values the multi-faceted work of teaching the subject in an urban environment, and works to instill a sense of curiosity and community engagement in each of his students. Recalling a conversation with his late father, Davis writes about the realization that he was meant to become a teacher. "Whereas I learned as a youth that music was my passion, I now knew that the honor and responsibility of changing lives was my calling."

A panel of educators, representing 15 national education organizations, chose the finalists from the 2012 state teachers of the year in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and four U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. 

The organizations represented on the 2012 National Selection Committee are: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, Association for Childhood Education International, ASCD, Association of Teacher Educators, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Congress of Parents and Teachers, National Education Association, National Middle Schools Association, National School Boards Association, and National School Public Relations Association.


The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.