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Meet Colorado’s 2022 Teacher of the Year finalists

Seven head shot photos of Colorado’s 2022 Teacher of the Year award finalists.

Colorado’s 2022 Teacher of the Year finalists.

Courtesy of Emmylou Harmon, Ashley Lowe, Julia Ferre, Paula Wilderman, Christina Vanzo, Carrianna Depace, and Autumn Rivera

Colorado’s seven 2022 Teacher of the Year finalists include two teachers from Douglas County, two from the Colorado Springs area, and three from rural districts in western Colorado. 

The state education department announced the finalists Monday and will pick a winner by the end of October. The Teacher of the Year represents Colorado in the national Teacher of the Year competition, becomes a member of a state advisory panel called the Commissioner’s Teachers Cabinet, and serves as an advocate for the profession over the course of the year. Last year’s state winner was Denver social studies teacher Gerardo Muñoz.

All but one of this year’s finalists are secondary teachers. Five teach science as part of their jobs and two teach English language arts. This year’s finalists are all women — a departure from years past when one or two male teachers have usually been among the finalists. About three-quarters of Colorado teachers are women. 

This year’s finalists are: 

  • Carrianna DePace, fifth grade English language arts, Mountain Vista Community School in the Harrison district.
  • Julia Ferre, eighth grade science, SkyView Academy in the Douglas County district.
  • Emmylou Harmon, science, math and CTE agriculture, West Grand High School in the West Grand district.
  • Ashley Lowe, eighth grade English language arts, Falcon Middle School in District 49.
  • Autumn Rivera, sixth grade science, Glenwood Springs Middle School in the Roaring Fork district.
  • Cristina Vanzo, STEM teacher, Craig Middle School in the Moffat County district.
  • Paula Wilderman, middle and high school math and science, at Ascent Classical Academy of Douglas County.

The Council of Chief State School Officers sponsors the National Teacher of the Year competition and names a winner each spring. Winners are usually honored by the president at a White House ceremony.

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