The 2015 Arizona Teacher of the Year, John David Bowman, credits his NAU education for helping him develop solid classroom skills.

“At NAU I was able to get the most out of my experience by spending time alongside veteran teachers, seeing their different tools, curricula and how they dealt with day-to-day problems,” Bowman said.

Bowman graduated from NAU with a master’s in secondary education and an emphasis in history after earning his bachelor’s degree at ASU.

“We strive to provide rigorous quality programs with supervised practicum in real classrooms prior to student teaching,” said Ramona Mellott, dean of the College of Education. “We are dedicated to developing tomorrow’s educational leaders.” NAU’s education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

The Arizona Teacher of the Year Award is an advocacy position more than a reflection of a person’s professional skills, Bowman added. “I am here to be a voice for teachers and students across the state.”

Bowman thinks Arizona lawmakers should increase investment in education because more than 20 percent of first- and second-year teachers are leaving schools, creating a lack of stability in the system and making it difficult to foster student success.

For eight years, Bowman has taught at Westwood High School in Mesa. He will attend next month’s National Teacher of the Year Conference in Washington D.C., where he will have the opportunity to meet President Barack Obama.

As is customary, Bowman will be awarded an honorary doctorate and give a speech during NAU’s Spring Commencement Ceremony.