Springdale Elementary School teacher nominated for Arkansas Teacher of the Year


A Springdale educator is one of 13 regional finalists for Arkansas’ 2023 Teacher of the Year.

The Arkansas Department of Education announced the regional finalists on Friday. They will be recognized at an event Aug. 4 at the Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock. That’s also when the four state semifinalists will be announced, according to a department press release.

“These educators represent the best in the teaching profession in their local schools and have demonstrated a commitment to the teaching profession,” said Department Secretary Johnny Key.

One of four state semifinalists will be named Arkansas 2023 Teacher of the Year this fall and apply to become the 2023 National Teacher of the Year.

Each regional finalist will receive a certificate and a $1,000 prize donated by the Walton Family Foundation, according to the release.

Stephanie Long, a third-grade teacher at Turnbow Elementary School in Springdale, is a regional finalist representing Northwest Arkansas.

Long was also one of four Arkansas educators selected earlier this year as a state finalist for a Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Education.

Long was named Springdale’s Teacher of the Year at a Springdale School Board meeting in May. Springdale Assistant Superintendent Melissa Fink told the meeting that Long is the host of STEAM Night at Turnbow Elementary. The school’s last STEAM night in May drew more than 700 students, Fink said. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

“She loves connecting her students to the community to raise awareness about their careers,” Fink said of Long.

Since 2010, the Springdale School District has had eight teachers named state semi-finalists for Teacher of the Year honors, including Joel Lookadoo, Arkansas’ 2020 Teacher of the Year.

The other 12 regional finalists for Teacher of the Year 2023 include:

• Jessica Bilbo, media library, grades K-5, Harmony Leadership Academy, Texarkana School District

• Angela Brady, math, 6th grade, Walnut Ridge Middle School, Lawrence County School District

• Teresa Cantrell, music, grades K-2, Wynne Primary School

• Lisa Jensen, second grade, Alma Elementary School

• Amber Leaton, Social Studies, Grades 11-12, Bryant High School

• Kara McGee, second grade, Mabelvale Elementary School, Little Rock School District

• Cheryl Ring, Family and Consumer Sciences, Grades 10-12, West Memphis Academies

• Sarah Sabbatini, Dyslexia/Library Media Facilitator, Grades 1-5, Portland Elementary School, Hamburg School District

• Capri Salaam, Social Studies, Grades 7-8, North Little Rock Middle School

• Elouise Shorter, math, grades 9-12, Dollarway High School, Pine Bluff School District

• Sarah Story, Special Education, K-2, East Side Elementary School, Magnolia School District

• Allan West, Gifted and Talented, K-4, Central Elementary School, Cabot Public Schools


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