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Arizona Teacher of the Year

Meet the ten teachers recognized this year.


award recipients.

2021 Arizona Teacher of the Year

Sara Wyffels

Spanish | Chandler High School

Chandler Unified School District

2021 Ambassadors for Excellence

Estevan Carreon

Special Education | Independence High School

Glendale Union High School

Jillian Hernandez

5th Grade | Puente de Hózhó Elementary

Flagstaff Unified School District

Sara Mora

Career & Technical Ed | Wrightson Ridge School

Sahuarita Unified School District

Hillary Stacey

Chemistry | Empire High School

Vail Unified School District

2021 Semi-Finalists

Jeffrey Mann

World History | Flowing Wells High School
Flowing Wells Unified School District

Sharisse Nunes

Elementary Education, 5th Grade | Falcon Hill Elementary

Mesa Public Schools

Nicole Powell

Elementary Education, 5th Grade | Las Sendas Elementary

Mesa Public Schools

Shaylyn Savage

Special Education, 5th-8th Grade | Sunset Ridge Elementary

Pendergast Elementary School District

Elizabeth Shaw

Social Studies | Rincon Vista Middle School

Vail Unified School District


book a teacher to speak.

The Teacher of the Year and four Ambassadors for Excellence each bring a different perspective on education. Please read the following descriptions and then book the speaker of your choosing using the form below.



Sara Wyffels, 2021 Arizona Teacher of the Year

As an Ambassador for Excellence, Sara Wyffels has centered her focus on renewing education during the pandemic. She is specifically exploring why we should not go back to “normal,” and how we should start new instead. Wyffels can provide reflection and talking points to guide the process in renewing our systems and practices in regards to student learning, instruction, approach, equity, inclusiveness, technology, community, and the overall purpose of school.


Estevan Carreon, 2021 Ambassador for Excellence

As an Ambassador for Excellence, Estevan Carreon will focus on the commitment of educators regarding inclusion when meeting the needs of all students. Inclusion is a proven model of creating learning environments that are welcoming and safe for students with disabilities. This model utilizes strategies that would also benefit other marginalized students. Mr. Carreon can address approaches that schools could use to create safe classrooms for students with differences related to race, ethnicity, nationality, language, gender identity, sexual orientation, traumatic experience, or other factors. 

Jillian Hernandez, 2021 Ambassador for Excellence

Real change happens when students co-create their educational experience by critically questioning and taking action. Jillian Hernandez believes that teachers can build equitable spaces and lean into education as an act of social justice. Hernandez can address how to elevate each student’s voice by incorporating culturally relevant learning opportunities, how to invite students to critically question assumptions, and how their participation plays a part in creating an equitable opportunity for all students.  She can also address the role teachers and staff have in learning and "un-learning" their own assumptions for the benefit of the educational community.

Sara Mora, 2021 Ambassador for Excellence

As an Ambassador for Excellence, Sara Mora will focus on the importance of authentic learning experiences to revolutionize schools into 21st Century learning. Authentic learning experiences lead to student engagement, retention of knowledge, and emphasize employability skills that are needed to empower students to be successful in an unforeseen but innovative future. Mora can address data and research that supports authentic learning experiences, including the benefits of career and technical education programs at the middle school level; and provide an overview of how to apply project-based learning to a variety of content areas. 

Hillary Stacey, 2021 Ambassador for Excellence

As an Ambassador for Excellence, Hillary Stacey promotes STEM to girls and underrepresented communities. Her classroom is full of humor and relevancy. This along with highlighting her students' unique abilities are her main methods towards an enthusiastic student population. She believes that inspiring interest in these fields will improve the lives of these students and the community at large. Stacey is also a leader in her district on the new state science standards and STEM outreach extracurricular activities. 

Speaker Request
To request a speaker, please complete the fields below.
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staff contact.

For questions, please contact Kim Graham at kim@azedfoundation.org or 480-421-9376.