MSA Teacher of the Year Program

INSPIRING + COMMITTED + INNOVATIVE

At Magnet Schools of America (MSA) we already know great teachers inspire not only their students but their colleagues and others in the community as well. Magnet Teacher of the Year (TOY) Award annually recognizes an outstanding, dedicated full-time teacher who exemplifies excellence in academic achievement and executes innovative programs that promote equity and diversity for students in magnet schools.

This successful teacher-candidate is acknowledged by peers, parents and students for exemplary contributions made to the profession. This teacher inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn. The award honors a PreK through K-12 Magnet School Teacher who has demonstrated excellence in the teaching profession, community, and parental involvement.

DEADLINE: Tuesday November 16, 2021

Must be a PAID 2021-2022 MSA Member by Monday November 1, 2021
*Membership inquiries, please email membership@magnet.edu OR call 202.824.0672

ELIGIBILITY

Nominees must be full-time magnet teachers (including specialists, resource/lead teachers) who:

  • Are currently serving as a teacher at one or more PreK-12 or K-12 Magnet school(s) for a minimum of three (3) years;
  • Demonstrate and encourage creativity and innovation in curriculum;
  • Foster cooperation between the classroom and the community;
  • Maintain a continuing dialogue with students and parents as well as other staff;
  • Keep abreast of developments in the field of education;
  • Encourage team spirit;
  • Maintain their position as magnet teacher throughout the 2021-2022 school year; and attend the national conference of the subsequent year “to pass the torch.” (at the discounted host district rate)

All previous regional recipients are not eligible for three (3) years after being awarded.
All previous monetary recipients are not eligible for five (five) years after being awarded.

NOMINATION PROCESS

  • Nomination application for Teacher of the Year must by submitted by the district Magnet Director.
  • Only MSA Members/Districts may submit candidate nominations.
  • Districts may submit only one candidate.
  • A letter of nomination explaining why the nominee is deserving of the award, signed and submitted with the online application at the time of submission.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation: including one from a parent, one from a community partner, AND one from a co-worker or administrator. Each letter must be signed and submitted/uploaded separately with the online application at the time of submission.

2020 National Magnet Teacher of the Year

MEGAN HEITKAMP
Salk Middle School
ISD 728, Elk River, Minnesota

Megan Heitkamp says becoming a teacher was not a linear progression; it was not something she had dreamed of doing since she was a young student. However, she does feel she was destined to be a teacher, to be a shaper of skills and to be a supporter of students overcoming challenges in and out of class. “I have a bias toward helping, and this factor has a positive influence over my journey,” she says.

As a magnet teacher, Heitkamp has focused on both the small steps within classrooms that build into the giant leaps toward systemic school culture changes. She is in a unique position teaching 7th grade students, and being the curriculum coordinator for the school’s magnet program. Because of this diverse role, she can concentrate on things that impact the students in her classroom, and zero in on helping teachers improve their work in regards to the magnet theme and the five pillars of magnet programming.

Heitkamp believes that teaching should be inquiry-based, authentically connected to the learners, and should help learners examine new perspectives with curiosity, not judgement. As she says, “It is my hope that learners participate in discussions about scientific and environmental issues as they begin to craft their own scientific values that will impact their decision-making. Learners need to be able to understand the results at doctor’s appointments, grasp the weather report in the media, and weigh the pros and cons of local and global environmental initiatives that have long-lasting impacts. Encouraging a deep scientific literacy is at the heart of my teaching philosophy.”


Congratulations to our 2020 Regional Teachers of the Year!

REGION I

Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, The District of Columbia

DAVID VIESTO

The Aerospace/Hydrospace Engineering and Physical Sciences High School

Theme(s): Aerospace and Hydrospace Engineering
Grade(s): 9-12
Bridgeport Public Schools
Bridgeport, Connecticut

REGION II

Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, American Samoa, Marianas Islands and Trust Territory of the Pacific

ATHENA MERTES

Thurman White Academy of the Performing Arts

Theme(s): Arts, Audio Video Technology, and Communications
Grade(s): 6-8
Clark County School District
Henderson, Nevada

REGION III

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands

WAYNE WORTHLEY

Redland Middle School

Theme(s): STEM: Agriscience and Robotics
Grade(s): 6-8
Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Homestead, Florida

REGION IV

Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, International

JOSHUA HUNTER

Moore Square AIG/GT Basics Magnet Middle School

Theme(s): Gifted and Talented/AIG Basics
Grade(s): 6-8
Wake County Public School System
Raleigh, North Carolina

REGION V

Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas

KRISTIN BUMGARDNER

Baton Rouge Magnet High School

Theme(s): Academic College Preparatory
Grade(s): 9-12
East Baton Parish Public School System
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

REGION VI

Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

MEGAN HEITKAMP

Salk Middle School

Theme(s): Pre-Engineering STEM focus
Grade(s): 6-8
ISD 728
Elk River, Minnesota

2019 National Magnet Teacher of the Year

2019 Teacher of the Year. Walter Carter

2019 Teacher of the Year. Walter Carter

Walter Carter, Milford Mill Academy, Baltimore County Public Schools, Baltimore County, Maryland

Mr. Walter Carter, automotive services teacher at Milford Mill Academy, distinguishes himself as an automotive professional with a large and ongoing body of knowledge in automotive education.

Mr. Carter has taken his lifetime love and involvement in automotive service to develop a program to expand his students’ knowledge and skills. He has developed relationships with the business community and coordinated internships and externships for the automotive students.

Carter, an ASE certified technician since 1985, has been teaching for 12 years, all of them at Milford Mill Academy. From 2008 – 2014, he served on Maryland’s curriculum writing committee for automotive technology. He is a National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certified automotive educator and was selected as the school’s own 2019 Teacher of the Year.


Congratulations to our 2019 Regional Teachers of-the-Year:

REGION I

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont

MARY CASE

Waterbury Arts Magnet School

Theme(s): Art
Grade(s): 6-12
Waterbury Public Schools
Waterbury, Connecticut

REGION II

Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, The District of Columbia and International

WALTER CARTER

Milford Mill Academy

Theme(s): Arts & Technology
Grade(s): 9-12
Baltimore County Public Schools
Baltimore, Maryland

REGION III

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands

RAJINI SUNDARARAJ

Martha Ellen Stilwell School of the Arts

Theme(s): Fine & Performing Arts
Grade(s): 9-12
Clayton County Public Schools
Jonesboro, Georgia

REGION IV

Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee

BETSY GRAVES

Broughton Global Studies/Language Immersion Magnet High School

Theme(s): Global Studies, International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, Language Immersion (Spanish & Chinese) beginning in 2 years in connection with magnet pathway elementary and middle schools
Grade(s): 9-12
Wake County Public School System
Raleigh, North Carolina

REGION V

Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas

HEATHER WILLIAMS

South Highlands Academic & Performing Arts Magnet Elementary School

Theme(s): Academic, Visual & Performing Arts
Grade(s): 3-4
Caddo Parish Public Schools
Shreveport, Louisiana


REGION VI

Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin

JILL JENSEN

Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts & Science

Theme(s): Arts & Science
Grade(s): K-5
District 196
Eagan, Minnesota


REGION VII

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, American Samoa, Marianas Islands and Trust Territory of the Pacific

SCOTT LAUTZENHEISER

Veterans Tribute Career & Technical Academy

Theme(s): Forensic Science, Criminal Justice Pre-Law, Emergency Medical Services, Law Enforcement, 911 Dispatch
Grade(s): 9-12
Clark County School District
Las Vegas, Nevada

2018 National Magnet Teacher of the Year

Dr. April Guenzler, Brooks Museums Magnet Elementary, Wake County Public School System, Raleigh, North Carolina
Dr. April Guenzler has been a classroom teacher in North Carolina for 17 years. She became a National Board certified teacher in 2014 and graduated with an EdD in Curriculum and Instruction from Gardner-Webb University in May of 2016. Dr. Guenzler loves working with families and their communities and is passionate about integrated curriculum. She has been a part of her school since the conception of its magnet program and her teaching philosophy clearly aligns with the Paideia principles, which provide the foundation for Brooks Museums Magnet Elementary. She believes that learning occurs when students are actively engaged in hands-on authentic experiences and she has facilitated professional development on Paideia Principles, Responsive Classroom, museums approaches to learning, the Theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI), and curriculum unit design.

She is also a mentor at her school and works weekly with new teachers (during their first three years of initial licensure) to develop their capacity in teaching. Most recently she was invited by Gardner-Webb faculty to become involved with the Urban Educators Leadership Collaborative (UELC) through Teachers College at Columbia University, NY.


Congratulations to our 2018 Regional Teachers of-the-Year:

REGION I

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont

JENNIFER DOWKER

Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School
Theme(s): Performing and Visual Arts
Grade(s): K-5
New London Public Schools
New London, Connecticut

REGION II

Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, The District of Columbia and International

SUSAN ELLERBEE

Randallstown High School
Theme(s): Biomedical Technology and Mass Communication, Academy of Health Professions
Grade(s): 11-12
Baltimore County Public Schools
Randallstown, Maryland

REGION III

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands

DALE ADAMSON

Howard D. McMillan Middle School
Theme(s): Medical and Health Sciences, Robotics Engineering and Technology
Grade(s): 6-8
Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Miami, Florida

REGION IV

Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee

APRIL GUENZLER

Brooks Magnet Elementary School
Theme(s): Museums
Grade(s): K-5
Wake County Public School System
Cary, North Carolina

REGION V

Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas

JOHN HAYMAN

Southeast Middle School
Theme(s): Digital Arts and Technology
Grade(s): 6-8
East Baton Rouge Parish School System
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

REGION VI

Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin

MARGARET KOREMAN

Franklin Fine Arts Center
Theme(s): Fine Arts
Grade(s): K-8
Chicago Public Schools
Chicago, Illinois

REGION VII

Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming

SHANNON RAINS

McLean Science & Technology Magnet
Theme(s): Science and Technology
Grade(s): K-5
Wichita Public Schools
Wichita, Kansas

REGION VIII

Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, American Samoa, Marianas Islands and Trust Territory of the Pacific

MEGAN FRANKE

Las Vegas Academy
Theme(s): The Arts
Grade(s): 9-12
Clark County School District
Las Vegas, Nevada


Learn how to become a Nationally Certified Magnet School

Raise the level of performance consistent throughout school districts nationwide and creates a platform from which all magnet schools can flourish. Magnet Schools of America’s national certification process is designed to recognize the hard work of the best magnet schools in the nation and to help them as they grow.

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