Half of the dozen teachers recently selected statewide as Rodel Exemplary Teachers are graduates of Northern Arizona University.

The Rodel Exemplary Teacher Initiative recognizes educators in high-need schools in Coconino, Maricopa and Pima counties each year. Rodel selects 25 finalists around the state, with 12 winners chosen to receive a $5,000 savings bond and serve as mentors for Rodel Promising Student Teachers for the next three years.

Nine of the 25 finalists have completed or currently are pursuing degrees through NAU’s College of Education.

“We are very proud to have these NAU graduates and students recognized as exemplary educators,” said Michael Sampson, dean of NAU’s College of Education. “This is a validation of the excellent job our faculty and public school partners are doing in preparing outstanding teachers for the students of Arizona.”

Sampson said the university’s partnership with Rodel is a key to the success of Arizona teachers, citing the Rodel Promising Student Teacher program. Thus far, the 132 exemplary teachers selected through the program have mentored more than 500 teachers throughout the state.

Listed below are the Rodel Exemplary Teachers for 2013, degree earned from NAU, grade taught and city in which they work:

  • Michelle Gottleber, master’s in educational leadership, first grade, Tucson
  • Maria Henry, bachelor’s in special education and master’s in elementary education, special education for kindergarten through fourth grade, Phoenix
  • Leslie Hernandez, master’s in elementary education, fourth grade, Mesa
  • Lee Irby, bachelor’s and master’s in elementary education, sixth grade social studies and language, Flagstaff
  • Jo’el Johanson, master’s in educational leadership, seventh and eighth grade math, Flagstaff
  • Michelle Perryman, master’s in educational leadership, fifth grade, Phoenix

Three teachers with ties to NAU also named among the finalists for the award are:

  • Amanda Atteln Spangler, currently pursuing master’s in educational leadership, third grade, Phoenix
  • Barbara Campbell, master’s in elementary education, sixth grade English, Flagstaff
  • Clarissa Cristofori, currently pursuing master’s in educational leadership, kindergarten, Tucson

See the full list of this year’s 25 finalists here.