Arizona Teacher of the Year Announced by Arizona Educational Foundation

The 2024 Arizona Teacher of the Year Awards were held at the Madison Center for the Arts on Oct. 14, 2023, celebrating Ambassadors for Excellence, Teacher of the Year Semifinalists and Honorable Mentions.

Presenting Sponsor: Desert Financial Credit Union

Event Chair: Christi Warner Beyer

EmceeEric Rodriguez of Change Maker LLC

Carolyn Warner Legacy Award: Elizabeth “Liz” Bradshaw, retired gifted education educator

2024 Teacher of the Year: Efrain Casillas, Tolleson Elementary School District 

2024 Ambassadors for Excellence: Andrea Barallardos, Douglas Unified School District | Marion Johnson, NBCT, Amphitheater School District | Kathleen Malkhassian, Flagstaff Unified School District | Rebecca Oravec, Sahuarita Unified School District

2024 Teacher of the Year Semifinalists: Caroline Chung-Wipff, Mesa Public Schools | Clare Contreras, Sahuarita School District | Stephanie Likes, Chandler Unified School District | Jessie McKinley, Madison Elementary School District | Bridget Montoya, NBCT, Flowing Wells School District   

Notable Moments: Madison Center for the Arts was the venue for this inspiring award ceremony. While all 15 of the nominees exemplified educational excellence and served as inspirational role models to their students, Efrain Casillas was presented with the 2024 Arizona Teacher of the Year award. He is a music teacher at Porfirio H. Gonzales Elementary and Desert Oasis Elementary in the Tolleson Elementary School District. Throughout the evening, speakers shared their touching, personal stories through the lens of “Everyone’s story includes a teacher.”

Photos courtesy of Terri Bradford | Jim Cummings, CESO Communications

2024 Teacher of the Year, Efrain Casillas
Finalists Rebecca Oravec, Kathleen Malkhassian, Efrain Casillas, Marian Johnson & Andrea Barallardos
Semifinalists Bridget Montoya, Jessie McKinley, Stephanie Likes, Clare Contreras & Caroline Chung-Wipff
Elizabeth Bradshaw – Carolyn Warner Legacy Award Winner
Governor Katie Hobbs
Emcee Eric Rodriguez
Past and present Teachers of the Year
Shepherd Junior High School’s Stallions Onstage Show Choir
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