CONTACT:  Sarah Potter
Communications Coordinator


Vol. 46, No. 73
October 15, 2012

Teacher of the Year, Finalists to Be Honored Tonight


Missouri's 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year, Cathy Cartier of Affton High School in St. Louis, and the five finalists for the award will be honored by state education officials this evening in Jefferson City.

The awards will be presented by Peter F. Herschend, president of the State Board of Education, and Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro.

Cartier has taught English at Affton High School for the past nine years. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and embarking on a career in social work, she returned to college to earn a Master of Education Degree and certification to teach secondary English from the University of Missouri‒St. Louis.

"Cathy is an excellent teacher ‒ the type of teacher we need at schools throughout Missouri," said Karla Eslinger, assistant commissioner for the Office of Educator Quality at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. "She sets high expectations for her students and then helps them reach those goals."

Cartier was chosen as Teacher of the Year from a field of six finalists following personal interviews that were conducted by a 12-member selection committee. She will represent Missouri in the annual National Teacher of the Year program.

The five state finalists are:

  • Jeanie Cook, a kindergarten teacher at Pleasant Lea Elementary School, Lee's Summit School District
  • Stephen Schwartz, a first grade teacher at Valley Park Elementary school, Valley Park School District
  • Donna Terrell, an art teacher at Fort Osage High School, Fort Osage School District, Independence
  • Nichole Tews, an English teacher at Cass Career Center, Harrisonville School District
  • Janice Wenger, a gifted education teacher at the Center for Creative Learning, Rockwood School District

The Missouri Teacher of the Year program is conducted annually by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Major support for the program is provided by the Boeing Company and the Monsanto Company, a new sponsor this year.

"We want to thank our new sponsor, Monsanto, as well as Boeing, a long-time sponsor, for their contributions that make the Teacher of the Year program possible," Eslinger said. "Effective educators are one of the most important factors in providing a high quality education to our students, and we are pleased to have this opportunity to recognize some of the best teachers in Missouri."

A reception for the honorees is being sponsored by Missouri's professional teacher organizations.

Preparing, developing and supporting effective educators is a primary goal for the Department's Top 10 by 20 plan to move Missouri into the top 10 states in education by 2020.