Four educators from across the state have been named as the finalists for the 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.
The nominated educators teach in the Conway, Little Rock, Mountain Home and Springdale school districts.
The 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year nominees are:
- Catherine Beckham | Mountain Home School District | 10th-through 12th grade teacher of Orientation to Teaching I and II and leader of the Senior Internship program at Mountain Home High School Career Academies
- Jeffrey Whitlow | Little Rock School District | fifth grade teacher at Don R. Roberts Elementary
- Joel Lookadoo | Springdale School District | ninth-grade algebra I teacher at Lakeside Junior High
- Melissa Spence | Conway School District | first-grade teacher at Theodore Jones Elementary School
To qualify as a nominee, candidates must be “dedicated teachers in grades pre-kindergarten through 12,” and spend more than 70 percent of their contracted time engaged in classroom instruction.
The individual selected as the 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year will work with the Arkansas Department of Education, serving as an ambassador for education in Arkansas. During their tenure, the Teacher of the Year will provide assistance to Arkansas teachers and students, work on professional development and make relevant public appearances throughout the state.
In addition, the Arkansas Teacher of the Year will represent the state at the National Teacher of the Year competition.
The 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year will start July 1, 2020 and conclude their duties on June 30, 2021. During this time, they will serve on paid administrative leave from their school district.
The current Arkansas Teacher of the Year is Stacey McAdoo, a communications and Advancement Via Individual Determination teacher at Little Rock Central High School.