NEWCASTLE – Zach Beam, a physical science, physics, and advanced chemistry teacher at Newcastle High School, has been named Wyoming’s 2023 Teacher of the Year, in a surprise assembly at the school on Thursday.
Over the past decade that he has been teaching, Beam’s teaching model and approach has changed several times. However, his goal has always been the same; To help students learn scientific concepts and enjoy the process of doing science and engineering.
“Zach has the ability to bring the excitement of learning to his students with innovation and explanation,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Schroeder. “What he is doing in the area of STEM education – and what he plans to do next fall – just goes to show that he is all-in with letting his students grasp these far-reaching concepts in a way that is really, really fun and exciting.”
Beam, who has taught in Newcastle for the past nine years, has presented at state and national conferences on managing a paperless classroom, the logistics of summer field science, and implementing a student makerspace to support student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In the fall of 2023, he will teach a STEM Lab in Newcastle.
“I was honored to be named Weston #1 District Teacher of the Year, but it is above and beyond to be named Wyoming Teacher of the Year,” Beam said. “It was amazing to see the student reaction to the announcement and it continues to get me excited to see them excited.”
“Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – John Maxwell
“This quote is so true with Zach,” said Weston School District #1 Superintendent Brad LaCroix. “He truly does care for all his students, and it shows by the relationship he has established with every one of his students. Zach has been a science teacher for WCSD #1 for 10 years. He is an exceptional teacher that has the art of making science fun and exciting as well as educational for the students. He is greatly respected by students and staff at Newcastle High School as well as in the community..”
Beam holds a Bachelor of Science from Black Hills State University. There he majored in Math and Science Education with a focus in physics. He has a Master of Arts in Science Education from Western Governors University with a focus in chemistry. Prior to his teaching career, Beam worked for the U.S. Forest Service Job Corps’ Education Department.
“My message to my profession and to the public is to value the opportunities that we can provide our students, “ Beam said. “Every time students get exposed to new information, it could be the ember that ignites their passion for education and their future endeavors. We do not always know what will engage our students, but when we open up new avenues we show them that they are capable in new ways. I want the public to know that as teachers we are inspired by the ‘ah ha’ moments that our students have and we want to foster that excitement when our students ‘get it’ for the first time or make a connection to prior learning.”
The Wyoming Teacher of the Year comes with the significant responsibility of representing the teaching profession in Wyoming. The Wyoming Teacher of the Year acts as liaison among the teaching community, Wyoming Legislature, Wyoming Department of Education, districts and communities. In addition, the Teacher of the Year is an education ambassador to businesses, parents, service organizations, and media, as well as an education leader involved in teacher forums and education reform.
Linda Finnerty, Communications Director