The Association of Alaska School Boards selected Lorrie Heagy, a music teacher and librarian at Glacier Valley Elementary School, to be Alaska Teacher of the Year 2011 Sunday, according to a press release from the state Department of Education and Early Development.
"I'm thrilled to be selected and to represent Alaska's teachers in a profession that continually models lifelong learning," Heagy told the Empire on Sunday. "I share this award with the other two finalists, but also with all of the knowledgeable and passionate teachers with whom we've worked alongside.
"I want to thank the Juneau School District for valuing ongoing professional development in the community ... and the Glacier Valley School staff, students and parents for inspiring me every day."
Glacier Valley's library, music and art programs "have seen phenomenal growth" since Heagy became an educator there, wrote Juneau School District assistant superintendent Laury Scandling in a letter of recommendation for Heagy.
"Students get up early for 7 a.m. band practice and stay after school for activities that did not exist six years ago," Scandling wrote in the letter. "Classroom teachers integrate art and music into their language arts, science and math programs."
One of her better-known achievements has been the JAMM program. JAMM, short for Juneau, Alaska Music Matters, is a program designed to teach kindergartners to play the violin.
A committee made up of educators, including the 2010 Teacher of the Year, Palmer's Jackie Lee Johnson, picked Heagy. The committee reviewed a written application and a video of Heagy and other nominees in the classroom, according to the release. The group also interviewed Heagy.
In addition to serving as Alaska's Teacher of the Year, Heagy will also serve as Alaska's nominee for the national teacher of the year award, the release states. Should she win that, alternate Teacher of the Year Trevor Townsend, from the Mat-Su Borough School District, would step in as Alaska's Teacher of the Year. Linda Jo Klapperich, also from the Mat-Su, was the other finalist.
"Ms. Heagy and Mr. Townsend represent the finest in Alaska's teaching profession, but they are not alone," stated Alaska Education Commissioner Larry LeDoux in the release. "Many of Alaska's teachers bring out the best in our children by giving the best of themselves. This award is an opportunity for all Alaskans to express gratitude to our teachers."