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Colorado Teacher of the Year

Colorado Teacher of the Year

About the Program

Each year, the Colorado Teacher of the Year Program honors an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled K-12 classroom teacher to represent the entire profession in the state. The selected teacher will automatically become Colorado's nominee for the National Teacher of the Year competition. The national program is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers. Visit the National Teacher of the Year program webpage for more information.

The Colorado Teacher of the Year receives many professional development opportunities and, along with the country’s other teachers of the year, is honored at a special ceremony at the White House and gets the opportunity to go to NASA’s Space Camp. The teacher also becomes a member of the Colorado Education Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet.

Supported by
Denver7 abc

2024 Colorado Teacher of the Year. Supported by Denver 7 and boettcher foundation

Seven finalists for 2024 Colorado Teacher of the Year announced

CDE has announced its top candidates for the 2024 Colorado Teacher of the Year competition with the sole finalist to be announced by the end of October. Finalists are listed below in the same order as their photos appear above. 

  • Rawa Abu Alsamah - Middle school special education teacher, Rocky Mountain Prep, Denver Public Schools
  • Danielle Cerna - Sixth grade math and science, Trailside Academy, Mapleton Public Schools
  • Ivy Dalley - Sixth grade language arts and social studies, Mancos Middle School, Mancos School District
  • Miles Groth - Sixth grade Mountain Academy of Arts and Sciences, Ute Pass Elementary, Manitou Springs School District 14
  • Kimberly Kane - Sixth grade English language arts, Delta Middle School, Delta County School District 50J
  • Jessica May - Sixth, seventh and eight grade social emotional learning, life skills and reading, Conrad Ball Middle School, Thompson School District *
  • Tiffeny O’Dell - Junior high science and career technical education health, Byers Jr./Sr. High School, Byers School District 32J

For more information on each finalist, read the Sept. 15, 2023, news release.

* At the time of application, Jessica May taught at Conrad Ball Middle School in Loveland. For the 2023-24 school year, Ms. May is now at Turner Middle School in Berthoud, teaching Family and Consumer Science for sixth through eighth graders. 

2023 Colorado Teacher of the Year Winner Jimmy Day Aurora Public Schools Supported by Denver7

2023 Colorado Teacher of the Year winner announced

Jimmy Lee Day II, the band director and instrumental music teacher at East Middle School in Aurora Public Schools, was named Colorado’s 2023 Teacher of the Year in a surprise ceremony at his school on Friday, Oct. 28.

Day has taught at East Middle School since 2017. During his more than 13 years as an educator, he has rebuilt three band programs, transforming them into award winning programs that earned superior rating scores from district music festivals. As a result of his effective teaching, Day became a highly recommended educator to participate in the Public Education & Business Coalition and the Aurora Public School Mentoring Community of Practice. He received his Bachelor of Science in Music at Tennessee State University and his Master's of Arts and Teaching at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Read the full CDE news release.

Watch a video about Jimmy Day.

Program Partners

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Adams State University Logo

Blue Bell Ice Cream Logo

Teacher of the Year Archives

Recent Colorado Teachers of the Year

View a list of all past Colorado Teacher of the Year recipients.

Colorado Council of the Network of State Teachers of the Year

The Colorado Council of the Network of State Teachers of the Year (NSTOY) is an organization committed to the preservation and enhancement of the Colorado Teacher of the Year Program. The Council works with the Colorado State Department of Education and other corporate and organizational partners to celebrate teaching excellence through the recognition of educators who have inspired a love for learning in their students, and who have distinguished themselves in the profession. All Colorado State Teachers of the Year, as well as each year's finalists, are invited to participate.

For more information for upcoming meetings, as well as how to join, visit the Colorado Council's website.

Contact Us

For more information on this program, please contact:

Kim Burnham
Grants Program Administration
720-607-1495 (c)