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Betty Thornton 2015 Teacher of the Year Finalist

2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists Announced.

LITTLE ROCK – Fifteen outstanding teachers from around the state have been selected as 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. Gov. Mike Beebe will recognize them at a ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 16 in the Old Supreme Court Room at the Capitol. The top four finalists will be announced at the event.

“Each year we are pleased to recognize some of the best teachers around the state,” said Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Tony Wood. “Their commitment to their students and community is exemplary, and we applaud them for their dedication to education.”

The 15 regional finalists are as follows:

Amy Becker

4th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies Noble/Allbritton Elementary
Hamburg School District
Southeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Jason Bridges

10th-12th Grade AP Calculus and AP World History Greenwood High School
Greenwood School District
Western Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Donna C. Dillahunty

5th Grade English Language Arts
Marion Intermediate School
Marion School District
Crowley’s Ridge Education Service Cooperative

Larry Cornelius Dunn

7th-12th Grade Vocal Music


Magnolia Junior High School and Magnolia High School Magnolia School District
South Central Education Service Cooperative

Kathy Glewen

5th Grade Literacy
Southwest Middle School
Searcy School District
Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Cooperative

Lindsay S. Griffin

6th Grade Literacy
Greenbrier Middle School
Greenbrier School District
Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative

Steven Helmick

5th Grade
Don. R. Roberts Elementary School Little Rock School District
Pulaski County

Tifanie King

Wonder Elementary School
West Memphis School District
Great Rivers Education Service Cooperative

Jayna Moffit

7th-8th Grade Math
Lincoln Junior High School
Bentonville School District
Northwest Education Service Cooperative

William K. Morelan

7th-12th Grade English/Journalism
Oark High School
Jasper School District
Ozarks Unlimited Resource Education Service Cooperative

Ouida R. Newton

7th-12th Grade Math
Poyen High School
Poyen School District
Dawson Education Service Cooperative

Cheryl L. Smith

6th Grade Math
Meekins Middle School
Stuttgart School District
Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative

Mary Smith

9th-12th Grade Business Education


Walnut Ridge High School
Lawrence County School District
Northeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Betty Thornton

10th-12th Grade English/Spanish
Calico Rock High School
Calico Rock School District
Northcentral Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Denise Ward

Kindergarten-4th Grade Physical Education Kilpatrick Elementary School
Texarkana Arkansas School District Southwest Arkansas Education Cooperative

The Arkansas program is part of the National Teacher of the Year program, which began in 1952. Teachers are nominated and selected each year based on their teaching skills and practices, school and community leadership, and dedication to students, parents and colleagues.

The Walton Family Foundation, a long-time supporter of the program, is providing a grant for the program. As a result, each regional finalist will receive a $1,000 award. The 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year will receive an additional $14,000. 

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