UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS
DEC. 12, 2011
CONTACT: Kristy Carter, Interim Executive Director Outreach & Community Engagement, at (501) 450- 3139 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Arkansas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts Names 2011 Teachers of the Year
Little Rock – The Arkansas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (ACTELA) named four teachers of the year at the Arkansas Curriculum Conference held recently in Little Rock.
Those recognized are: for elementary grades, Debbie West from Jonesboro’s Fox Meadow Intermediate Center; for middle level grades, Jamie Highfill from Woodland Junior High School in Fayetteville; for secondary grades, Tara Seale from Bryant High School; and for college level, Dr. Steven Lance from the University of Central Arkansas.
Nominations for these teachers of the year were provided by administrators, colleagues and those who best know their initiatives and achievements. Requirements for nomination include: evidence of outstanding teaching; professionalism and service in English language arts; current employment as a full time teacher with at least five years of service teaching in Arkansas schools; innovations, successes, and honors in teaching; professionalism as evident in research, study, publication, membership and participation in professional organizations; and service to school, community, state, and nation.
Chosen teachers of the year have a passion for literacy and have devoted their careers to share this enthusiasm with their students. Elementary teacher of the year, Debbie West, is diligent as a teacher leader in her school. She leads teacher study groups and is a consistent professional development provider in her district. Debbie is also a National Writing Project teacher consultant and the technology liaison for the Arkansas Delta Writing Project site at Arkansas State University. Middle level teacher of the year, Jamie Highfill, participates as an ITunes University instructor, and as a National Writing Project teacher consultant, co-directs the Northwest Arkansas Writing Project summer writing institute for teachers. She is also a member of the Fayetteville English Language Arts Task Force. Tara Seale, secondary teacher of the year, is known for her blog, “Enhanced English Teacher” and has been named “One of the Top 100 High School Teachers Who Blog.” She has also been selected as her school’s teacher of the year, and she won the 2010 Arkansas Public School Resource Center Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Growth Award. Dr. Steve Lance, the college level teacher of the year, is a professor in the English Department at the University of Central Arkansas. He is the author of several books and a previous finalist for the UCA Teaching Excellence Award.
The teachers of the year were honored during the ACTELA luncheon at the Arkansas Curriculum Conference where they received engraved clocks and gift cards to Barnes and Noble bookstores. They also heard young adult author Christopher Paul Curtis speak to a crowd of over 120 educators from across the state.
Central to ACTELA’s mission is to integrate the efforts of those who are concerned with the improvement of instruction in English and Language Arts at all educational levels. Other initiatives offered by this state affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English Language Arts include: mini-grants for teachers; publication of the Arkansas Anthology; liaisons with state universities; and co-facilitation of the annual Arkansas Curriculum Conference. For more information about the teacher of the year awards, visit www.actela.org.