Print this Page

Press Release

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CCSSO Announces 2011 National Teacher of the Year Finalists

FL, IL, MD and MT Public School Teachers in Running to Receive Nation’s Top Teaching Honor
Contact:Melissa McGrathmelissa.mcgrath@ccsso.org202-336-7034

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced the four finalists for the 2011 National Teacher of the Year today. The National Teacher of the Year Program, sponsored by the ING Foundation and Target, is a project of CCSSO in partnership with University of Phoenix and People to People Ambassador Programs

 "Teachers are one of the most important factors to ensuring student success. These four individuals exemplify what it means to truly engage students," said Gene Wilhoit, CCSSO Executive Director. "In order to deliver on our promise to provide a first rate education to every child, we must continue supporting and learning from highly effective teachers like our National Teacher of the Year finalists."

Rhonda Mims, President of the ING Foundation adds, "ING realizes the important responsibility corporations have in helping to improve education, which is why we are proud to sponsor the premier program that recognizes our nation's teachers and highlights their outstanding contributions to education. Congratulations to the finalists for their dedication to the profession and selfless efforts to improve student achievement."

"Target has a long-standing commitment to education that focuses on helping kids learn and schools teach, ultimately paving a path to graduation," said Laysha Ward, President, Community Relations and Target Foundation. "Sponsoring a program that honors the critical role teachers play in engaging and inspiring students is a natural extension of this commitment."

The four finalists for 2011 are listed below. Additional information, including quotes from each finalist can be found here.

Cheryl Conley-2011 Florida Teacher of the Year
Conley is a fourth grade teacher at Osceola Magnet Elementary School in Vero Beach, Florida. She has taught a total of 11 years, the last four at Osceola Magnet, a school of 536 students.

Annice M. Brave-2011 Illinois Teacher of the Year
Brave is an eleventh and twelfth grade English and journalism teacher at Alton High School in Alton, Illinois. She has taught for 23 years, the last fifteen at Alton High which has 2,039 students.

Michelle M. Shearer-2011 Maryland Teacher of the Year
Shearer is a tenth through twelfth grade chemistry teacher at Urbana High School in Ijamsville, Maryland. She has taught at this school of 1,655 students for nine of her fourteen years in the education profession.

Paul Andersen-2011 Montana Teacher of the Year
Andersen is a ninth through twelfth grade science teacher at Bozeman High School in Bozeman, Montana. He has been an educator at Bozeman High, a school of 1,850 students, for nine of his sixteen years as a teacher.

President Barack Obama is expected to recognize the national honoree and the state representatives in May 2011.

A panel of educators, representing 14 national education organizations, chose the finalists from the 2011 state teachers of the year in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and four U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. The organizations represented on the 2011 National Selection Committee are: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, Association for Childhood Education International, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Association of Teacher Educators, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals,  National Association of State Boards of Education, National Congress of Parents and Teachers, National Education Association, National Middle Schools Association, and National School Public Relations Association.


 The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.

About ING
ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance, and retirement services to over 85 million residential, corporate and institutional clients in more than 40 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 107,000 people, ING is dedicated to setting the standard in helping our clients manage their financial future.

In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits and financial planning. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves nearly 30 million customers across the nation.

ING's diversity management philosophy and commitment to workplace diversity, diversity marketing, corporate citizenship and supplier diversity fosters an inclusive environment for employees that supports a distinctive product and service experience for the financial services consumer.

For more information, visit

About the ING Foundation
The ING Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where ING operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on programs in the areas of financial literacy, children's education, diversity, and environmental sustainability.

For more information, visit, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter, or call Audria Belton Benn at 770-980-5715

About Target
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,752 stores in 49 states nationwide and at In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week. For more information about Target's commitment to corporate responsibility, visit

About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help students balance education and life in a rapidly changing world. Through flexible schedules, challenging courses and interactive learning, students achieve personal and career aspirations without putting their lives on hold. During the quarter ended August 31, 2010, 470,800 students were enrolled at University of Phoenix, the largest private university in North America. University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit or call Danica Ross at 310-242-2051.

About People to People Ambassador Programs
People to People Ambassador Programs ( provides premier international educational travel opportunities for students, athletes and professionals. From hands-on experiences to community service opportunities, more than 400,000 Student Ambassadors, Citizen Ambassadors and educators have travelled and connected with people and cultures around the world. People to People Ambassadors have traveled to 47 countries on all 7 continents. Annually thousands of teachers travel the world with People to People Ambassador Programs furthering the educational opportunities of students and educators worldwide.