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14 Teachers Named Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists 

LITTLE ROCK — Fourteen outstanding teachers from around the state have been named 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key will recognize the regional finalists August 16, 2018, at the Governor’s Mansion. Guests will arrive at 9:45 a.m., followed by networking and a reception. The program will begin at 11 a.m. During the ceremony, the four state semi-finalists will be announced.

“Each year we receive applications from some amazing teachers, and this year is no exception,” Key said. “These 14 teachers have demonstrated excellence in the classroom, and I am pleased to recognize them as regional finalists. They serve as role models for their peers, and I commend them and all the applicants for their commitment to ensuring our students graduate ready for college, career and community engagement.”

2019 ATOY Regional Finalists

Renée Bailey
Grade 4 Math, Science & Social Studies
Central Elementary School
Magnolia School District
South Central Education Service Cooperative

Jennifer Biggers
Grades K-4 Literacy
Walnut Ridge Elementary School
Lawrence County School District
Northeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Chrystal Burkes
Grade 3 Literacy
Parkway Elementary School
Bryant School District
Dawson Education Service Cooperative

Juanita Harris
Grade 1
Union Elementary School
Texarkana Arkansas School District
Southwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Heather Hite
Grades 8-12 EAST
McCrory High School
McCrory School District
Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Cooperative

Marcus Luther
Grade 10 English
Wynne High School
Wynne School District
Crowley's Ridge Education Service Cooperative

Stacey McAdoo
Grades 9-12 AVID & Communication
Little Rock Central High School
Little Rock School District
Pulaski County

Rob Plant
Grades 4-12 Computer Science
Mineral Springs High School
Mineral Springs School District
DeQueen-Mena Education Service Cooperative

Liz Richey
Grade 6 Literacy
Hermitage Elementary School
Hermitage School District
Southeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Blair Rogers
Grade 4 Reading & Social Studies
Richland Elementary School
West Memphis School District
Great Rivers Education Service Cooperative

Vanessa Stewart
Grade 4
Monitor Elementary School
Springdale School District
Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Margie Towery
Grade 10 Pre-AP Biology
Greenbrier High School
Greenbrier School District
Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative

Erica Walters
Alma Primary School
Alma School District
Guy Fenter Education Service Cooperative

Candace Wilson
Grade 8 Science
Sheridan Junior High School
Sheridan School District
Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative

The Arkansas Teacher of the Year program is part of the National Teacher of the Year program, which recognizes exceptional teachers who demonstrate strong teaching and leadership skills. The 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, who will be announced this fall, will apply to become the 2019 NTOY.

This year’s ATOY Regional Finalists will each receive a $1,000 award. Awards are made possible by a grant provided by the Walton Family Foundation, a long-time supporter of the program.

Some State Board of Education members plan to attend the event August 16 at the Governor’s Mansion, but no official business will be conducted.

To learn more about the ATOY program, go to


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Stacey Southerland, Career & Technical Education Specialist at De Queen Mena Coop, teaches students about “Utility Connection” in the “Get Real – Here’s the Deal” program held at De Queen High School. Allen Stark, Agency Manager with Farm Bureau, teaches students about “Protecting Your Assets” in the “Get Real – Here’s the Deal” program held at De Queen High School.     


                                              Stacey DQ HS











Ashdown High School Principal, Kay York was named the 2018 Arkansas Association of Secondary School Principals - Principal of the Year.


York has a total of three years of experience as a principal at Ashdown High School. Prior to being named the principal at the high school, York served 19 years as a school administrator. She is also involved in numerous professional organizations and community activities.


Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders stated this award was another example of how the state's perception of the district is changing.


Executive Director of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, Dr. Richard Abernathy presented the award to York. He said this award is given each year to an Arkansas secondary level principal who has succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students and has been acknowledged by their peers for their exemplary contribution to the profession.


York said she couldn't do what she does with out the help of the students, staff and community.


York is dedicated to the education of Arkansas students, which is evident by this quote by an Ashdown High School student, quote, "Her dedication is building the bridge between school and community. The character presented by her proves one's value comes not from aesthetics, but the willingness to do what no one else dares to do" unquote.



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De Queen Elementary School Receives National Recognition for Arkansas


     Superintendent Bruce Hill and Terriann Phillips surprised the De Queen Elementary faculty with two awards on Wednesday morning at an early faculty meeting.   The Arkansas Department of Education has nominated De Queen Elementary School for the National Title I School of the Year.  The Arkansas Department of Education chose De Queen Elementary based on outstanding performance in these three categories: Exceptional student performance for two consecutive years, closing the achievement gap between student groups, and excellence in serving special population of students.  Special populations include migrant, English learners, homeless and more.  The National Title I Distinguished Schools Program is a project of the National Title I Association that publicly recognizes schools for their positive educational advances.  Only two schools per state can be selected as a National Title I Distinguished School each year.  De Queen is the only one in the state to represent Arkansas.  This award is an especially prestigious honor for De Queen’s school, staff, and students.  De Queen will work with the Title I Association to prepare for the national title.

     The Office of Educational Policy of the University of Arkansas awarded the elementary school with the Outstanding Education for Beating the Odds in Math for the southwest region of
Arkansas.  This was based on exceeding goals for two consecutive years and included the 2016 ACT Aspire scores.

     De Queen Elementary’s teaching staff is composed of certified teachers, literacy and math facilitators, intervention teachers, and paraprofessionals.  Terriann Phillips is the principal and Sharon Pigeon is the assistant principal. 


     Pictured are row 1 seated L to R:  Lindsey Wimberly, Melissa Carver, Jessica Vega, Jill Collins, Nicole Stanford, Lisa Williams, Shonda Cotton, Terri Shelton, Fred Dykes, Shelley Feemster, Angela Hanney, Sarah Green, Judy Partain, and Kurt Angerbauer.  Row 2 seated L to R: Shannon Wilkerson, Julie Adcock, Ginger Marshall, Amanda Mc Kee, Sarah Morphew, Jocelyn Phillips, Mary Frachisuer, Beth Jackson, and Amber Lemser.  Standing L to R: Bruce Hill, Terri Phillips, Shelia Ruth, Maralyn Faulkenberry, Alicia Tatum, Sheila Tolison, Tammy Gilbert, Tiffany Williamson, Jane Speck, Holly Click, Krystle Melton, Kim Jarrell, Christa Wise, Dianna Nemlowill, Evelyn Beasley,  Elizabeth Martinez, Carrie Dinger, Anissa Manasco, Reva Kitchens, Tammy Cowart, Sherrie Shelton Brenda Clowers, Suzanne Burgess, and Krystal Minchew.  Not pictured Sharon Pigeon, Rachell Runnels, and Marcela Chavez.


Article and photo by Tammy Whatley



Justin Neel, Caddo Hills Business and Market Education Teacher, Caddo Hills High School- ACTE New Teacher of the Year

justin neal




Congrats to Lee Smith of Horatio on Arkansas Rural Ed Association Southern Region Superintendent of the Year!!