This morning PEOPLE magazine announced the six winners of its second annual “Teacher of the Year” contest. They are:
•Art Almquist, a 17-year drama teacher in Tucson who produces plays about topics such as AIDS and immigration;
•Marsha Dionisio, a 29-year 4th grade teacher in Seaside Heights, N.J., who kept teaching in a borrowed gym space using the one book she had for her class, following the destruction of her school by superstorm Sandy;
•John Herber, a science teacher and football coach in Pensacola, Fla., who teaches experiential lessons outdoors and has seen dramatic gains in test scores;
•Mary Kurt-Mason, a special education teacher in Pagosa Springs, Colo., who takes her students with disabilities sea-kayaking, skiing, and whitewater rafting;
•The teaching team of Brenda Martinez, Radames Galarza, and Elissa Guarnero in Milwaukee, who founded a bilingual fine arts elementary school and use culturally relevant teaching practices; and
•Valencia Robinson, a high school reading teacher in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., who in her 20 years of teaching has secured $20,000 in technology grants for her students, helped get free mammograms for students’ family members, and mentored many struggling teens.
The winners were nominated by readers and selected by an advisory board, which included singer-songwriter John Legend; Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp; and National Education Association vice president Lily Eskelsen-Garcia. According to a press release, the teachers will receive $4,000 for their schools and $1,000 for personal use and be featured in the Oct. 28 issue of the magazine.
Image: Valencia Robinson, one of PEOPLE‘s 2013 Teacher of the Year award winners. —Michael Lavine for PEOPLE
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.