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Anthem Rotary introduces Teacher of the Year program


ANTHEM – Do you know a fantastic teacher who merits special recognition? The Anthem Rotary is introducing a Teacher of the Year program, awarding three Anthem teachers for their dedicated work with students.

Starting this school year, the Rotary will select an elementary school teacher, a middle school teacher, and a high school teacher from a group of nominees, rewarding each of those teachers with a $500 check and a Teacher of the Year certificate. 

“Our club is thrilled to have the honor of rewarding three of Anthem's best teachers every year, starting with the current school year,” said Ken Anderson, Rotary Community Service Chair, in an email interview.

How it works: The Rotary Club of Anthem will contact the PTA or its equivalent of each eligible school and offer that organization the opportunity to participate in the Teacher of the Year award program. Only candidates nominated by a school’s parent organization will be eligible to compete for an award. Any full-time teacher who works in a public, charter, or private school in Anthem is eligible to be nominated for the award.

Each parent organization can nominate one teacher from its K-8 school for each award, so K-8 schools’ PTAs can nominate one K-5 teacher and one middle school teacher. In the case of Boulder Creek High School, the PTA at Boulder Creek can nominate up to five teachers to compete for the Teacher of the Year award.

“Even to be nominated for these awards is a big deal because the PTSAs for each school are putting forth a major effort to identify and put forward just one candidate from that school to compete for each award,” Anderson said.

For several years, The Rotary Club of Anthem has been awarding scholarships to Anthem high school seniors, and Anderson noted that the Rotary could see that these hardworking students and their peers couldn’t succeed without the hard work and dedication of great teachers.

“So The Rotary Club of Anthem decided it was high time our teachers – at all levels – received some recognition for the critical role they play in preparing our kids for life,” Anderson explained.

Anderson described some of the qualifications for the award, noting that winners would, of course, be excellent instructors.

“They also will be individuals who go beyond class instruction to find ways to motivate and inspire students to reach greater heights. Finally, we are seeking nominees who are deeply involved in community service outside of the school. We all remember a special teacher or teachers who reached us when we were kids. Those are the teachers the Rotary Club wants to reward,” Anderson said.

The PTAs of the eligible schools have the nomination materials for the award, and the nomination deadline is March 15. A selection committee appointed by The Rotary Club of Anthem will collect nominations, evaluate the candidates, and choose the three winners. The winners are expected to be announced sometime in May.

The Rotary’s motivation in creating this award to show teachers how much the community values them.

“Our teachers are a vital part of our community. They raise their families here. They are our friends and neighbors,” Anderson emphasized. “Unfortunately, Arizona is at or near the bottom when it comes to paying teacher salaries. While the Rotary Club of Anthem cannot fill that gap, we want to do what we can to let our teachers know that this community values them and appreciates them.”