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Three local teachers named Raytheon Leaders in Education

Tucson Values Teachers and Raytheon Missiles & Defense announced the winners of the fifth annual Raytheon Leaders in Education Award. Photo via Raytheon.
Posted at 1:44 PM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 16:44:09-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucson Values Teachers and Raytheon Missiles & Defense announced the winners of the fifth annual Raytheon Leaders in Education Award.

The contest recognizes K-12 teachers who foster strong classroom performance, leadership in schools and communities and support their peers.

Winners receive $2,500, as well as $2,500 in matching funds for their schools. The six finalists who didn't win get $500 prizes.

“The Raytheon Leaders in Education Award honors and recognizes the very best educators we have in our community. Highlighting the contributions and professionalism of local teachers is especially important during such an unprecedented time in education as teachers have faced new and unique challenges,” said Andy Heinemann, Chief Executive Officer of Tucson Values Teachers, in a statement. “We value our partnership with Raytheon and we’re once again excited to bring together the business and education community to celebrate teachers and education champions.”

An awards ceremony dubbed Stand Up 4 Teachers will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at the University of Arizona.

One winner was Centennial Elementary School kindergarten teacher Shelley Valencia. She has worked at the school for 21 years and has assumed principal duties on campus as needed. She was named Centennial Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2011-2012.

The other winner is Jessica England, a 6th-8th grade music teacher at Sahuarita Middle School. She has taught band, orchestra and choir at the school for the last four years and started the school's jazz band program.

The third winner was Christopher Pankratz, a 9th-12th grade theater arts teacher at Flowing Wells High School. He has overseen the production of 33 plays.

Here is the list of finalists:

Grades K-5

  • Latricia Ferguson, Cottonwood Elementary School, Vail Unified School District
  • Vanessa Schiess, Hendricks Elementary School, Flowing Wells Unified School District

Grades 6-8

  • Gricelda Meraz, Hollinger K-8 School, Tucson Unified School District
  • Adam Scafede, Dove Mountain CSTEM K-8, Marana Unified School District

Grades 9-12

  • Eric Freitchen, Desert View High School, Sunnyside Unified School District
  • Julie Ramsey, Amphitheater High School, Amphitheater Public Schools