TUCSON, Ariz. — His passion for the theater translates well to his Sabino High School students.
Kris Kissel is in his 22nd teaching drama at the TUSD school.
He finds developing a connection with his students makes for a creative environment.
"It's all about making positive relationships, and knowing what makes them tick, there interests, and taking the time to do that," said Kissel.
He takes pride in teaching students more than just acting. Kissel wants to teach them valuable lessons for after high school.
"Whether they go on in theater or not, I hope they are more confident, more creative," explained Kissel. "I hope that they feel free to be themselves, and express their ideas and their creativity."
Kissel is one of nine finalists for the Teacher of the Year Award presented by The University of Arizona Online, Arizona Athletics and KGUN 9.
For the first time, each finalist will receive $500. Arizona Online has also increased the winner’s prize money from $1,000 to now $2,500.
The winner will be announced March 8.