Students of the State Teachers of the Year featured in the 2022 White House Holiday Décor

National Teacher of the Year Program logo

Washington, D.C. (December 19, 2022) – The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) collaborated with First Lady Jill Biden to feature students of the 2022 State Teachers of the Year as part of this year’s White House holiday décor. Over 400 students’ self-portraits were transformed into ornaments and are currently on display in the State Dining Room, which is themed We the Children, and designed to ensure children see themselves in the White House holiday display. 

On Dec. 11, 22 teachers traveled to Washington, D.C. from across the country to see their students featured in the White House holiday décor.

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) runs the National Teacher of the Year Program, which identifies exceptional teachers across the country, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, engages them in a year of professional learning and amplifies their voices. CCSSO has been a part of the National Teacher of the Year Program since its founding in 1952.

Each year, the 50 states, U.S. extra-state territories, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity select outstanding educators to serve as State Teachers of the Year, from whom a selection committee chooses finalists and, ultimately, the National Teacher of the Year.

“It was an incredible honor for these teachers to visit the White House and see their students and their work celebrated. We thank the president and first lady for highlighting children and teachers in this way,” said CCSSO Chief Executive Officer Carissa Moffat Miller.

Ornaments made by students of these 2022 State Teachers of the Year are displayed at the White House:

  • Alabama: Kimberly Christian Johnson, Auburn Junior High School, Auburn, AL
  • *Alaska: Kelly Shrein, Chinook Elementary School, Anchorage, AK
  • *Arkansas: Jessica Wheeler Saum, Stagecoach Elementary School, Cabot, AR
  • *Colorado: Autumn Rivera, Glenwood Springs Middle School, Glenwood Springs, CO
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Riya Nathrani, Admiral Herbert G. Hopwood Middle School, Saipan, CNMI
  • *Connecticut: Kim King, Southeast Elementary School, Mansfield, CT
  • *Department of Defense Education Activity: Rachel Guilfoyle, Daegu Elementary School, Daegu, South Korea
  • *District of Columbia: Dominique Foster, Friendship Public Charter School, Washington, D.C.  
  • *Florida: Sarah Painter, Eisenhower Elementary School, Clearwater, FL
  • *Georgia: Cherie Bonder Goldman, Herman W. Hesse K-8 School, Savannah, GA
  • *Hawai'i: Whitney Aragaki, Waiakea High School, Hilo, HI
  • *Idaho: Todd Knight, Crossroads Middle School, Meridian, ID
  • *Kentucky: Willie Edward Carver Taylor Jr., Montgomery County High School, Mount Sterling, KY
  • *Louisiana: Annelise Cassar Tedesco, Chalmette High School, Chalmette, LA
  • *Massachusetts: Marta Garcia, Witchcraft Heights Elementary School, Salem, MA 
  • *Michigan: Leah Porter, Wilcox Elementary School, Holt, MI
  • *Nevada: Deanne Moyle-Hicks, Natchez Elementary School, Wadsworth, NV
  • *New Jersey: Theresa Maughan, East Orange STEM Academy, East Orange, NJ
  • *New York: Carly Santangelo, Cuba-Rushford Middle-High School, Cuba, NY
  • *Rhode Island: Lisa Garcia, North Kingstown High School, North Kingstown, RI
  • *Texas: Ramon Benavides, Del Valle High School, El Paso, TX
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: Cristina Marie Lope-Senosa, Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, St. Thomas, VI
  • Utah: Mark B. Daniels, Weber High School, Pleasant View, UT
  • *Virginia: Daphne Tamara Fulson, Portlock Primary School, Chesapeake, VA
  • *Vermont: Karen McCalla, Mill River Union High School, North Clarendon, VT
  • *Wisconsin: Kabby Hong, Verona Area High School, Verona, WI

(* Teachers who visited the White House.)

More information about the 2022 State Teachers of the Year and CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year Program is available at


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, Bureau of Indian Education, 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.

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