Top teachers make a lasting impact with the gift of higher education
Teachers understand how education can change lives. Few know that better than the more than 50 educators who are selected annually to represent their communities as nominees for National Teacher of the Year.
In recognition of their commitment to education, University of Phoenix presents every nominee with a Teaching It Forward® scholarship. These scholarships give the nation’s top educators the opportunity to “teach forward” their award by providing deserving individuals from their communities with full-tuition scholarships toward the completion of an undergraduate or graduate degree at the University.
The National Teacher of the Year program is considered the oldest and most prestigious event to recognize excellence in teaching. Established in 1952 by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), it gives students, teachers and administrators the responsibility of nominating their favorite teacher to represent their community — and to potentially be selected as the national honoree.
University of Phoenix has participated in the Teacher of the Year program since 2009.
Rebecca Mieliwocki, 2012 California Teacher of the Year/National Teacher of the Year
Seventh-grade English teacher, Rebecca Mieliwocki says it was important to her that she honor the school district in which she works — and the city whose children she’s taught — by offering the Teaching It Forward scholarship to an employee of Burbank Unified School District.
She selected Ishmael Lopez, a self-described “computer guy” for the district, she says, for three reasons: “First, he’s a Burbank guy through and through. … Second, his core values of responsibility, service and duty are very important to me. … Finally, he is committed to making his family proud of him and doing right by the community that grew him.”
Lopez is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology.
David Bosso, 2012 Connecticut Teacher of the Year
It didn’t take long for David Bosso to find the right candidate for his Teaching It Forward scholarship. “Alberto Velez came to mind rather quickly,” he says. “It’s not often that members of the custodial staff are afforded the esteem in which Alberto is held,” noting that Velez was recognized as Staff Person of the Year at Connecticut’s Berlin High School shortly before receiving this scholarship award.
Velez is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business. “He knows that his educational growth as a result of the Teaching It Forward scholarship will make a difference in the lives of his son and daughter, and he wants to earn his degree not only for himself, but more significantly, for them,” Bosso adds.
Gay Beck, 2011 Utah Teacher of the Year
Brody Bates was working his fifth year as a substance abuse recovery counselor when Gay Beck heard his story. She was immediately touched by Bates’s remarkable resilience in the face of personal adversity and his deep commitment to serving others. With his Teaching It Forward scholarship, Bates is now pursuing a Master of Science in Counseling at the University of Phoenix Utah Campus.
He says he plans to use this advanced education to seek fulfillment by working “with individuals on a more personal and emotional level.” Bates adds that he is striving to improve himself through this “gift of education,” serving as an example to others who seek a better way of life.
University of Phoenix is once again proud to be part of the CCSSO Teacher of the Year program. We’re honored to have met, and work closely with, each of the state nominees from previous years. We look forward to assisting you with the awarding of your Teaching It Forward scholarship as well.
We applaud the commitment to student success that every Teacher of the Year demonstrates. Our Teaching It Forward scholarship program was developed to give these local champions of education an opportunity to put a community member of their choice on track to earning their undergraduate or graduate degree.
Bill Pepicello, PhD
President, University of Phoenix