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Arizona Educational Foundation Names Five Finalists for 2023 Arizona Teacher of the Year®

Arizona Educational Foundation AEF® Arizona Teacher of the Year® News

Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF®) Congratulations to the 2023 Arizona Teacher of the Year Top Ten

Phoenix, Arizona, August 29, 2022 — Today, the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF®) named the 5 finalists under consideration for the 2023 Arizona Teacher of the Year® Award. Desert Financial Credit Union is the presenting sponsor of this year’s Teacher of the Year Awards ceremony. Considered the “Oscar Awards” of teaching, the educator ultimately selected as Arizona Teacher of the Year becomes our state’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year.

These five finalists, known as “Ambassadors for Excellence,” are in the running for Arizona Teacher of the Year, which will be announced during the 2023 Arizona Teacher of the Year Awards ceremony on October 15th, 2022. The event will be held at the Madison Center for the Arts in Phoenix, AZ. To sponsor or obtain tickets, please visit

The prize package for the Arizona Teacher of the Year includes $15,000 from the Arizona Educational Foundation and travel paid to attend several National Teacher of the Year events including a trip to the White House to meet the U.S. President and a weeklong trip to International Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. They are also considered for an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University. The 2023 Arizona Teacher of the Year and four Ambassadors for Excellence also receive professional speech and media training to aid them in delivering hundreds of presentations during their year of recognition. AEF also has generous partners who provide gifts to the top ten teachers including a free membership to Treasures4Teachers, scholarships from the Arizona K12 Center to pursue National Board Certification, the opportunity to ride on the APS fire engine during the Fiesta Bowl Parade, and a “Fiesta Bowl Experience” package including tickets and on-field recognition provided by Fiesta Bowl Charities. In addition to serving as presenting sponsor of the ceremony, Desert Financial Credit Union provides each teacher with an iPad and keyboard case.

Five semifinalists were also named and, while no longer in the running for the award, remain part of the “2023 Top Ten Teachers of the Year” and will be honored during the awards ceremony and at various events throughout next year.



The five finalists, known as Ambassadors for Excellence, are:

  • Amber Gould (English/Student Council), Greenway High School, Glendale Union High School District

  • R Scott Harnisch (Music), Kyrene del Norte Dual Language Academy, Kyrene School District

  • Royd Lee (Navajo Language), Tuba City Elementary, Tuba City Unified School District #15

  • Annie Shanahan (History & Government), Maryvale High School, Phoenix Union High School District

  • Ty White (Chemistry), Willcox High School, Willcox Unified School District


The five Semifinalists, who also will be celebrated during the Arizona Teacher of the Year Awards, are:

  • Jaime Camero (Science/ELA), Douglas Elementary, Flowing Wells Unified School District

  • Zel Fowler (Gifted Education), Emerson Elementary, Phoenix Elementary School District

  • Erin Henderson (English/AVID), North High School, Phoenix Union High School District

  • Christina Musselman (General Education), Starline Elementary, Lake Havasu Unified School District

  • Robyn Yewell (General Education), Winifred Harelson Elementary, Amphitheatre Public Schools


According to Kim Graham, AEF’s Executive Director, the Arizona Teacher of the Year program, now in its 39th year, is made possible by the generous support of donors and sponsors. “The Arizona Educational Foundation is a nonprofit. We exist because of donations we receive from individuals and business partners who value teachers and schools as much as we do,” states Graham. Visit AEF’s website to view a full list of donors who support AEF and public education.

To make a donation or for sponsorship inquiries, please contact Kim Graham at


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2023 AEF® Arizona Teacher of the Year Awards | Arizona Educational Foundation | Presented by Desert Financial Credit Union

About Desert Financial Credit Union

Celebrating more than 80 years in Arizona, Desert Financial is the state's most trusted local credit union with over $8 billion in assets, 400,000+ members and 48 branches. Membership eligibility is open across most of Arizona with contactless solutions via eBranch, making it easy to click, call or come in. As a not-for-profit cooperative, Desert Financial takes pride in sharing success. In 2021, members received $15 million in dividends via the Member Giveback Bonus, and Desert Financial gave more than $3.8 million in donations, scholarships and Random Acts of Kindness to our members, community, and team. Learn more at

About Arizona Educational Foundation, AEF®

The mission of AEF is to celebrate excellence and cultivate equity in Pre-K-12th grade Arizona public education. This is accomplished through a variety of programs for teachers, administrators, and students. Some programs shine a spotlight on excellence; others provide a stepping stone to help support schools and educators on the road to awesomeness. In addition to the Arizona Teacher of the Year® program, AEF also coordinates the Arizona State Spelling Bee, the A+ School of Excellence® Award, the Principals Leadership Academy of Arizona, teachSTEM, Our World, and Take Your Legislator to School. AEF was founded in 1983, by then State Superintendent of Public Education, Carolyn Warner, who felt a nonprofit needed to be established to champion public education and recognize the great work of public school educators. AEF annually reaches over 500,000 students, teachers and administrators throughout Arizona. For more information visit, or contact

Arizona Educational Foundation AEF® – Giving Arizona Public Education the Shine it Deserves | Everyone's Story Includes a Teacher®

­­Media Contact:

Terri Bradford, AEF® Director of Communications & Digital Strategy

Mobile: 720-468-3996 | Email:


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