The Department of Education and Early Development announced the 2018 finalists for the Alaska Teacher of the Year award: Kent Fielding, Karen Martin, Eric Rush, and Ben Walker. All four nominees are members of NEA-Alaska.
Congratulations and thank you for your ongoing leadership and dedicated commitment to your students. The Alaska Teacher of the Year award winner will be announced in October.
Check out the impressive bios on these outstanding educators:
Mr. Fielding has taught high school English and history in the Skagway School District for 12 of his 18 years in the profession. He has taught numerous AP courses, led student trips overseas, and coached regional and state champions in cross-country, track-and-field, and drama, debate, and forensics. His commitment to his students extends well beyond the classroom walls. This past spring, he led a group of students to the Marshall Islands to study the impact of climate change. In order to make the trip a reality, he helped his students fundraise for over 18 months to cover the trip’s expenses. The students described the trip as life-changing and returned home inspired to present their findings, help elevate awareness, and even make sustainable improvements to their own community.
Ms. Martin, a 12-year professional, teaches fourth grade at Tri-Valley School. She also leads the Denali Borough School District’s (DBSD) professional learning group, with a focus on professionalizing teaching by creating an intellectual culture that changes teacher mindsets through research and inquiry. In 2014, she received a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching to live in Finland and research education. She returned to Finland in summer 2017 as a Fund for Teacher Fellow. Ms. Martin is passionate about creating a caring, intellectual culture and nurturing productive beliefs about learning.
Mr. Rush, an eight-year professional, teaches third grade at Ticasuk Brown Elementary in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. Incorporating technology into his classroom is an essential part of his instruction, allowing him to connect students to different ways of learning. In addition, his belief in personalized learning allows him to reach every student at their current skill level. By tailoring his instruction to meet each student’s learning needs, they are able to own their learning and be motivated by their own personal success.
Mr. Walker has spent his 11-year career at Romig Middle School in the Anchorage School District where he teaches seventh grade science, as well as applied technology, robotics, and media technology. He serves on the schools social and emotional learning committee, organizes STEM Career Day, and leads the MathCOUNTS program. Mr. Walker was the 2013 Alaska Awardee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.