Colorado names seven finalists for Colorado’s 2021 Teacher of the Year

Containers hold markers and scissors in a classroom at Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School, an elementary school in Indianapolis, Indiana. —April, 2019— Photo by Alan Petersime/Chalkbeat
2021 Teacher of the Year finalists include two teachers from Denver. (Alan Petersime for Chalkbeat)

Seven teachers from across the state have been named finalists for the 2021 Colorado Teacher of the Year recognition. 

The finalists, which include two teachers from Denver and two from Colorado Springs, were announced Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Education. A sole finalist will be named by the end of October. 

Colorado’s Teacher of the Year represents the state in the national Teacher of the Year competition, and also serves in the state as an advocate for the profession during the course of the year. 

Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes acknowledged the extra difficulty teachers are facing this year during the pandemic. Colorado’s 2020 Teacher of the Year, Hilary Wimmer, an Adams 12 teacher, recently wrote about her experience after becoming ill with COVID-19 last spring.

“This year has been exceptionally tough on our teachers. We can’t thank them enough for their dedication to teaching our students through all the challenges of COVID-19,” Anthes said. “These seven educators have inspired me with their exceptional dedication to supporting their students and the high quality of their professional practice.” 

The 2020 finalists are:

  • Anna Conrad, an English language arts and AVID teacher, at Harrison High School in Harrison School District 2.  AVID is a nonprofit program that helps students who may become the first in their family to attend college.
  • Lisa Crabtree, a social studies teacher at Fruita Monument High School, Mesa County Valley 51 School District.
  • Holly Haverkorn, who teaches drama and technical theater at Mitchell High School, Colorado Springs School District 11.
  • Joe Hites, who teaches health and leadership at Vista Ridge High School, School District 49.
  • Tricia Kearns, who teaches science and health at Webber Middle School, Poudre School District. 
  • Rachel Lamb, a second-grade teacher at Inspire Elementary School in Denver Public Schools. 
  • Gerardo Muñoz, who teaches high school and middle school social studies at the Denver Center for International Studies at Baker, Denver Public Schools. 
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