Press Releases & Statements

2012 National Teacher of the Year and All Finalists Prepared through Colleges and Schools of Education

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(May 2, 2012, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) celebrates the Council of Chief State School Officers' (CCSSO) 2012 National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Lynn Mieliwocki, the three additional finalists and the colleges and schools of education that had a hand in helping to prepare all of them for their flourishing teaching careers.

Mieliwocki, who is also the 2012 California Teachers of the Year, received her teaching credential in English in secondary education from the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) College of Education. Currently a 7th-grade English teacher in Burbank, California, Mieliwocki has earned such accolades as the 2005 California League of Middle Schools Educator of the Year for Southern California and a 2009 PTA Honorary Service Award Winner in her 14 years in the classroom. She has also served as a master teacher for the CSUN College of Education's student teachers.

"I have an unshakable understanding that with a strong education, children can do anything that they set their minds to," said Mieliwocki upon receiving her award. "Our children are our future. That I have a hand in guiding and shaping that future compels me to make every minute, every lesson and every moment with them count. Every day in America, teachers with patience and creativity are opening doors for students to reach deep within themselves to learn more, to solve problems to grow and to nurture their dreams. That we do this work with conviction is not unusual or even rare." 

"If the future depends on your passion, your dedication, your professionalism, we are in remarkably capable hands and it is my honor to represent you," Mieliwocki added as a message to her fellow educators around the country.

The three other finalists for the 2012 National Teacher of the Year were also prepared by colleges and schools of education.

  • Gay Barnes, the 2012 Alabama Teacher of the Year, earned her Elementary Education degree from the University of Alabama at Huntsville Department of Education, her Education Specialist Degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Education and her Ph.D. in Reading/Literacy Education from the Alabama A&M University College of Education, Humanities and Behavioral Sciences. A 21-year teaching veteran, Dr. Barnes currently teaches first grade at Horizon Elementary School in Madison, Alabama.
  • Alvin Aureliano Davis, the 2012 Florida Teacher of the Year, received his teaching credential through the Florida A&M University College of Education, graduating with a degree in Music Education. Davis has spent his entire career as a music teacher at Miramar High School in Miramar, Florida. The city of Miramar is so appreciative of his contributions to students and the community that July 7, 2011 was named Alvin A. Davis Day.
  • Angela Wilson, the 2012 Department of Defense Education Activity Teacher of the Year, earned her undergraduate degree from the Western Illinois University College of Education & Human Services and her Master's in Education from the Southern Utah University College of Education. Wilson teaches seventh-grade Language Arts and Forensics to military connected children at the Department of Defense's Vicenza Middle School in Italy.

"AACTE is proud of these outstanding educators who constantly demonstrate unwavering passion for their work and dedication to student learning, even in the face of this adverse economic and political climate for education," said Sharon P. Robinson, Ed.D., president and CEO of AACTE. "We also applaud the educator preparation programs that helped to educate all of the National Teacher of the Year finalists. AACTE member institutions and the profession at-large are working hard to produce effective educators, and these star teachers are evidence of the success of those efforts."

AACTE is honored to be a member of the National Selection Committee, comprised of representatives from 15 national education organizations that choose four finalists from state nominations, conduct personal interviews with the finalists and ultimately select the National Teacher of the Year.

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The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to the highest quality professional development of teachers and school leaders in order to enhance PK-12 student learning. The 800 institutions holding AACTE membership represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE's reach and influence fuel its mission of serving learners by providing all school personnel with superior training and continuing education.



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Innovation Exchange logo The Innovation Exchange is a AACTE initiative that supports university-based educator preparation programs in responding to the changing demands of the workforce and in preparing educators to meet the needs of PK-12 learners. The activity and programming of the Innovation Exchange are guided by the following four interdependent components: Pedagogy, Workforce Development, Capacity Building, and Documentation and Synthesizing Research.

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