Rodney “Scott” Harnisch, a music teacher at Kyrene del Norte Dual Language Academy, has been named a top 10 candidate for the 2023 Arizona Teacher of the Year award. The annual award by the Arizona Educational Foundation is widely considered the highest honor bestowed upon Arizona’s public school teachers, according to a news release from the Kyrene School District.
This isn’t the first time that Harnisch has been recognized for teaching excellence. He has received the National Education Association Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, which is granted to educators for their dedication to the profession, community, professional development, and attention to diversity and advocacy. Harnisch has also been the recipient of awards from the Arizona Education Association and multiple arts grants that benefit his students.
“As I begin my 30th year in the Kyrene School District, I am incredibly grateful to have been named a top ten finalist for Arizona’s Teacher of the Year,” Harnisch shared in a statement. “To be given this distinction is incredible, and I am truly honored to be the vessel to share stories of teachers in my district and state with others. I have had the privilege of teaching alongside some of the finest educators and as a result, they have contributed to this honor. Thank you to my students for helping me become my best.”
The annual Teacher of the Year program is the premier event of the AEF, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to spotlighting and championing the exceptional work of public schools.
All candidates will undergo a final review process that will narrow the field to five finalists who will be named “Ambassadors for Excellence.”
The teacher selected as the 2023 Arizona Teacher of the Year will receive $15,000 from the AEF and will attend National Teacher of the Year events, including a trip to the White House to meet the President.
An awards ceremony will take place on Oct.15 at the Madison Center for the Arts in Phoenix to celebrate the winner and all candidates.