NAU grad wins Teacher of the Year

Joy Weiss

Another Northern Arizona University graduate has been named Arizona Teacher of the Year.

Joy Weiss, who has taught at Balsz Elementary School in Phoenix for 10 years, was selected as the 2010 Teacher of the Year last week by the Arizona Educational Foundation.

“This honor is a very humbling experience and will have a profound effect on the future of my teaching, as well as my educational career in the future,” Weiss said. “I will forever be shaped by this.”

Weiss has a bachelor’s degree in childhood education from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in education, curriculum and instruction from Northern Arizona University.

Weiss, who was called “outspoken” by the Arizona Republic, had high praise for both her undergraduate education and her time at NAU.

“The foundation that was laid during my bachelor’s degree with theory and practice prepared me when entering into the classroom for the first time,” she said. “During my first year of teaching, I realized that I had much more to learn and needed to grow quickly in my knowledge and skills.”

She chose NAU based on the College of Education’s reputation. “My master’s program with NAU gave me the enrichment and anchor I needed to solidify what I had learned during my bachelor’s and in the classroom,” she said. “NAU’s master’s program pushed me to think broader, more critically and engage in community learning through the cohort program…My experience with NAU was enjoyable and I have been proud to share this with others.”

With Teacher of the Year honors, Weiss wins $20,000 in cash, a laptop from Intel Corp., a chance to compete for National Teacher of the Year, a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., a scholarship toward a doctorate degree from Argosy University and other benefits. She also will receive an honorary doctorate from NAU during spring commencement ceremonies.

Last year’s Arizona Teacher of the Year was Sarah Baird, a math coach in the Kyrene School District. Baird earned both a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in early childhood education from NAU.