HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Education Secretary Gerald L. Zahorchak today announced the 30 semifinalists who will vie for the prestigious title of 2011 Teacher of the Year.
"Pennsylvania teachers represent some of the best educators in the nation," Zahorchak said. "We delight in the opportunity to honor these exemplary educators, who invest their time, hard work and energy to ensure that their students succeed."
The instructor selected as Pennsylvania's Teacher of the Year will serve as a spokesperson for teachers across the state and have the unique opportunity to represent the best in the education field.
Teachers were nominated by students, parents, colleagues or community members. A committee of former award recipients and past finalists select 30 semifinalists. From these 30 nominees the committee will chose 12 finalists.
The winner will be announced in October at the annual Teacher of the Year celebration in Harrisburg and will be Pennsylvania's nominee for the National Teacher of the Year. The national winner will be named in the spring of 2011.
Michelle Switala, a mathematics teacher at Pine-Richland School District in Allegheny County, was named Pennsylvania's 2010 Teacher of the Year.
Pennsylvania has participated in the Teacher of the Year program since 1965. The program is co-sponsored by the state Department of Education and the Pennsylvania chapter of the National State Teacher of the Year.
Media contact: Leah Harris, 717-783-9802
NOTE TO EDITORS: A list of the finalists for the 2011 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year follows:
Linda Arricale, Pennsbury School District
Robin Bayliff, Schuykill Haven Area School District
Matthew Boice, Quaker Valley School District
Sally Bovell, Great Valley School District
Timothy Chelednik, Brockway Area School District
Jeffrey Chou, Abington School District
Michael Cioffi, Williamsport Area School District
John Dolphin, Pine-Richland School District
Thor R. Edmiston, Midd-West School District
Adrienne Floro, Quaker Valley School District
Michele Pavlov Fowkes, Upper Perkiomen School District
Melissa Fulmer, West Mifflin Area School District
Nathan Grippin, West Perry School District
Carol A. Guogas, New Hope-Solebury School District
Angela D. Homan, Penns Valley School District
Thomas Joyce, Pine-Richland School District
Kathryn Kasten, Bethel Park School District
Carin J. Liberati, Pine-Richland School District
Diane Lupia, Mechanicsburg Area School District
Molly Masser, Northern Lebanon School District
Kimberly D. McCoid, Pine-Richland School District
Kimberly McWherter, Derry Area School District
Cyndi Page, Abington Heights School District
Jennifer Jankowski Pavlin, Pine-Richland School District
Stephanie L. Ripka, Penns Valley School District
Dede Rittman, North Allegheny School District
Karen Shaffran, Cheltenham Township School District
Jaclyn Sheaffer, Midd-West School District
Leann Starner, South Western School District
Stephanie Staub, Upper Adams School District
Gretchen Stoddard, Northern Lebanon School District
Dr. Mark P. Thomas, Upper Perkiomen School District
Mairi Cooper Thompson, Fox Chapel Area School District
Laura S. Tobias, Penns Valley School District
Shawn Walk, Quaker Valley School District
Paul Wright, Radnor Township School District
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education