Teacher of the Year

The Teacher of the Year program honors excellence in teaching around the state of Wyoming.

2018 Teacher of the Year, Sara Reed

“If a child can’t learn the way WE teach, maybe we should teach the way THEY learn” by Ignacio Esrada.

This mantra guides Sara Reed every day in her Kindergarten classroom. Through her 12 years of teaching Kindergarten at Hillcrest Elementary, she has learned vital lessons that help her classroom be the rich, inviting, kid-centered, learning environment that it is today. Every child has their own learning style, hardships in life, and personality that affects their learning every day. Sara has made it her priority to make sure each one of her students gets their learning needs met each day in order to become successful and confident students.

Sara Reed graduated from the University of Wyoming in the fall of 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Minor in Early Childhood Education. Growing up in a family full of educators, becoming a teacher was something Sara always wanted to do. While in college at the University of Wyoming, Sara worked at a Pre-School for three to five year olds. It was at that time that she learned of her passion for teaching Kindergarten. Intrigued by the enthusiasm, excitement for learning, and laughter they bring each day is what Sara wanted in her classroom. Sara’s wish to teach Kindergarten was granted in 2005, when she was hired at Hillcrest Elementary. Little did she know that this would begin a journey that would forever change her outlook on student learners and what it takes to be an effective leader.


  • 2018 Sara Reed, Hillcrest Elementary
  • 2017 Ryan Fuhrman, Sheridan Junior High School
  • 2016 Amy Pierson, Cloud Peak Elementary
  • 2015 Tyler Bartlett, Newcastle Middle School
  • 2014 Mick Wiest, Fort Mackenzie
  • 2013 Laura Drake, Goins Elementary
  • 2012 Hebert “Brent” Daly, Campbell County High School
  • 2011 Laurie Graves, Big Horn Elementary
  • 2010 Christina Mills, Lingle-Ft. Laramie High School
  • 2009 Alice King, Campbell County High School
  • 2008 Eileen Johnson, Indian Paintbrush Elementary
  • 2007 Mark Nethercott, Star Valley High School
  • 2006 Carol Kirkwood, Laramie High School
  • 2005 Debi Gaines, Saratoga Elementary
  • 2004 Jack Patrick, Saratoga High School
  • 2003 Eric Stemle, Evanston High School
  • 2002 Marcia Patton, Kelly Walsh High School
  • 2001 Cindy Gulisano, Lingle-Ft. Laramie Elementary School
  • 2000 Bernie Schnorenberg, Sundance Elementary School
  • 1999 June Vialpando Moore, Beitel Elementary School
  • 1998 Mary Ellen Krisko, Worland Middle School
  • 1997 Kevin Tennant, Campbell County High School
  • 1996 Pamela Moore, Aspen Elementary School
  • 1995 Joan Brummond, Afflerbach Elementary School
  • 1994 Sharon Yovich, Thayer Elementary School
  • 1993 Judith McBride, Slade Elementary School
  • 1992 Joan Marie, Barker Green River High School
  • 1991 Bette Sample, Gertrude Burns Elementary School
  • 1990 Rod Laird, Saratoga Elementary & Middle School
  • 1989 Mark Levitt, Green River High School
  • 1988 Janice Truchot, Sundance Elementary School
  • 1987 Lois Distad, Bar Nunn Elementary School
  • 1986 Mercine Miller, Tongue River Elementary School
  • 1985 Robert Meredith, Shoshoni High School
  • 1984 Charlotte Levendosky, Crest Hill Elementary School
  • 1983 Ann Tollefson, Natrona County High School
  • 1982 Robert Hilgenfeld, East Junior High School
  • 1981 Lois Sackman, Riverton High School
  • 1980 Elizabeth Shelton, Big Horn High School
  • 1979 Mignon Hill, Laramie Elementary Schools
  • 1978 Steve Campbell, Ashgrove Elementary School
  • 1977 Jeanne Curran, Rock Springs East Junior High School
  • 1976 Rosaleee Ammons, Osage Elementary School
  • 1975 Margaret Mecca, Hot Springs County High School
  • 1974 Maxine Torbert, Sheridan High School
  • 1973 Helen Meldrum, Buffalo High School
  • 1972 Margaret Blacker, Laramie High School
  • 1971 William Malloy, Thermopolis Elementary & Junior High School
  • 1970 Janette Plott, Central Junior High School, Sheridan WY
  • 1969 Karl Allen, Hot Springs County High School
  • 1968 Helen Kienlan, Elementary
  • 1967 Ann Halseth, Yellow Tone School, Rocksprings
  • 1966 Pearl Bader, Ten Sleep Elementary School
  • 1965 Lawrence Bays, Wheatland High School
  • 1964 Letha Dickinson, Riverton Elementary School

2018 District TOYs

  • Andrew Taylor, Lincoln County School District #2
  • Brent Moser, Converse County School District #1
  • Chelsea Kuhn, Albany County School District #1
  • Christel Griffin, Laramie County School District #1
  • Colter Brantz, Sheridan County School District #1
  • Dennis Howell, Natrona County School District #1
  • Heather Babb, Fremont County School District #1
  • James R. Gilman, Park County School District #1
  • Jana Bjelkevig, Platte County School District #1
  • Jane Bushnell, Big Horn County School District #2
  • Janet Lee, Fremont County School District #2
  • Jason Groene, Goshen County School District #1
  • Jenelle Larson, Carbon County School District #1
  • Jenna Banks, Sublette County School District #9
  • Jennifer Hayward, Sublette County School District #1
  • Kari Pavey, Johnson County School District #1
  • Karrie Preuit, Washakie County School District #1
  • Lex Cornia, Uinta County School District #1
  • Lisa Gingery, Teton County School District #1
  • Lynnette Forcella, Big Horn County School District #3
  • Nick Johnson, Weston County School District #7
  • Nicki Erickson, Washakie County School District #2
  • Peggy Anderson, Platte County School District #2
  • Reagan Kaufman, Laramie County School District #1
  • Ryan Collier, Converse County School District #2
  • Sara Reed, Campbell County School District #1
  • Stephanie Czarobski, Hot Springs County School District #1
  • Tennyson Draney, Uinta County School District #1
  • Tiana Lee, Park County School District #6
  • Wanda Theobald, Laramie County School District #2

2017 District TOYs

  • Aftann Kissling, Fremont County School District #24
  • Angela Ochsner, Goshen County School District #1
  • Brandi Boltz, Washakie County School District #2
  • Candace Stoll, Converse County School District #2
  • Casey Bowe, Big Horn County School District #3
  • Catelyn Deromedi, Hot Springs County School District #1
  • Christopher Cox, Johnson County School District #1
  • Dale Wille, Carbon County School District #1
  • Dana Gale, Platte County School District #1
  • Dirk Andrews, Natrona County School District #1
  • Dr. Jennifer Mellizo, Albany County School District #1
  • Elizabeth Becher, Washakie County School District #1
  • Jerod Ready, Park County School District #6
  • Jessica Mae Finn, Weston County School District #7
  • Jessica Marron, Park County School District #16
  • Kathryn Watson, Platte County School District #2
  • Katie Hernandez, Big Horn County School District #2
  • Laurel Main, Sheridan County School District #1
  • Lucinda McGeary, Campbell County School District #1
  • Mitch Irrgang, Sublette County School District #1
  • Rachel Giesmann, Fremont County School District #1
  • Rhonda Morrison, Laramie County School District #2
  • Rita Perkins, Uinta County School District #6
  • Robin Miller, Teton County School District #1
  • Robyn Wilkinson, Converse County School District #1
  • Rosemary Graff, Fremont County School District #2
  • Shane Steiss, Sweetwater County School District #2
  • Shannon Blackmore, Park County School District #1
  • Shirley Hall, Lincoln County School District #2
  • Terry McCrann, Sweetwater County School District #1

2019 Teacher of the Year Applications

Applicants must complete their own application and submit it to the WDE. The TOY program guidelines are included in the application.

The 2019 Wyoming Teacher of the Year will be selected from the pool of Wyoming District Teachers of the Year and will be announced in the fall of 2018. Wyoming’s Teacher of the Year automatically becomes a nominee for the National Teacher of the Year.

For more information: 2019 WTOY Program Guidelines

The entire application package must be electronically submitted no later than Friday, June 15, 2018.

Submit Application

Duties & Responsibilities of the WTOY

The successful candidate who will serve as the Wyoming Teacher of the Year must maintain his/her current employment position. If the WTOY is selected as the National Teacher of the Year, they will be released from classroom responsibilities during the year of national recognition.

Being named Wyoming Teacher of the Year comes with the significant responsibility of representing the teaching profession in Wyoming.

The Teacher of the Year acts as:

  • A liaison between the teaching community, Wyoming Legislature, Wyoming Department of Education, districts and communities.
  • An education ambassador to businesses, parents, service organizations, and media.
  • A resource on the state of the profession; to be available for workshops and conferences around the state.
  • An education leader involved in teacher forums and education reform.

The Wyoming Teacher of the Year is also expected to attend both state and national events such as education meetings, conferences, and workshops. 

Since the Wyoming Teacher of the Year will be requested to attend many events and make speeches during the year, they must be poised, articulate, and have the energy to withstand a busy schedule.

Wyoming’s Teacher of the Year automatically becomes the nominee for the National Teacher of the Year Program, which is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

WTOY Selection Process

All applications received by the deadline will go to the WDE selection panel for review. Scoring of each application will be based on the 2019 TOY Rubric. The selection panel will individually score each application. The TOY Coordinator will compile all scores to have the top five applications become finalists.

Finalists will need to submit a video of them teaching with the guidelines listed below. Please note that this step is only for those who make it to the top five.

The Finalists will also be schedule for virtual interviews where the entire selection panel will ask finalists questions about their teaching style and practices. The questions for this interview will NOT be given out ahead of time.

The selection panel will score both the finalist videos and interviews individually. Again, scores will be combined to select the Wyoming Teacher of the Year. If there is a tie, the selection panel will meet to discuss and choose a winner.

Finalist Teaching Video

The top five finalists will be required to submit a video of them teaching. The video should demonstrate the teacher’s instructional ability. Videos will be scored by the selection panel using this rubric.

Teaching Video Lesson

  • The video should not exceed 30 minutes in length.
  • Videos may be edited.
  • Begin the video stating the lesson objective and expected outcomes.
  • Showcase a segment where student learning is maximized.
  • Include evidence of teacher instruction and student work.
  • Include the lessons closure.
  • Have fun!

Video Lesson and Upload

  • Before filming, collect student video waivers to keep on file at the school.
  • Identify someone with suitable videotaping skills (ask your IT or communications Department for help).
  • Conduct a trial run, if possible, to test audio and video quality.
  • Create video, edit, and upload the video link, preferably to YouTube. (Be sure video link is marked private. It is encouraged to have a friend test the link before submitting.)
  • Submit the link to the WDE TOY Coordinator at robin.grandpre1@wyo.gov.

2019 Teacher of the Year Timeline and Selection Process

TimelineDescription
By a deadline established by your local school districtSubmit this application to the point person(s) who facilitates the TOY program in your district.
June 15, 2018Each local school district submits application for the 2019 DTOY awardee to the WDE. All DTOY awardees become candidates for the WTOY award.
June 15 through September 2018WDE Team moves through its selection process for WTOY.
No later than October 2, 2018Each participating district announces its DTOY awardee. The local school district may choose to announce its DTOY any time before this date but no later than this date.

Please note: a DTOY that becomes a finalist for WTOY will be notified sometime between June and August.

No later than October 9, 20182019 WTOY awardee is announced by the WDE.
November 2018Monetary awards for the DTOYs and WTOY are processed*

*Award amounts are contingent upon availability of state funding.

November 2, 2018Application for the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) award is due. This is submitted by the WDE on behalf of the WTOY.
November through December 2018The National Selection Committee moves through its selection process for NTOY.
January 2019Four NTOY finalists, their state superintendent, and state teams of the four states selected will be notified by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
March 2019The four NTOY finalists will be brought to Washington, D.C., where they will meet with the Selection Committee in a variety of situations, including individual interviews.
April/May 2019The 2019 National Teacher of the Year will be announced and honored in Washington, DC.