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The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced seven public school teachers, including five in the St. Louis metro area, have been selected as finalists for the Missouri Teacher of the Year award.

The Missouri Teacher of the Year program recognizes the efforts of effective teachers throughout the state who provide a quality education to their students. The Missouri Teacher of the Year will serve as the state’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year.

Congratulations to the finalists:

    • James R. Anians, an English teacher at Hoech Middle School in the Ritenour School District
    • Heather Bailey, a first-grade teacher at Maplewood Richmond Heights Early Childhood Center in the Maplewood Richmond Heights School District
    • Jamie Manker, a social studies teacher at Rockwood Summit High School in the Rockwood School District
    • Jason Navarro, a social studies teacher at Wheaton High School in the Wheaton School District
    • Amelia Ruzicka, a middle and high school math teacher in the Bayless School District
    • Christy Straatmann, a science teacher at the Valley Park Middle School in the Valley Park School District
    • Jacqueline Wilson, a culinary arts teacher at the Lake Career and Technical School in the Camdenton School District

The selection committee will choose the Missouri Teacher of the Year following interviews with each finalist next week. The winner and the other finalists will be honored at a banquet in Jefferson City this October. Learn more by visiting the DESE website.