Nation’s Top Educators for 2015 Prepared by Colleges of Education

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(April 27, 2015, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) celebrates 2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples, the three additional finalists and the colleges and schools of education that had a hand in preparing all of them for their distinguished teaching careers. Peeples, who is the 2015 Texas Teacher of the Year, was named to the top post today by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and will be honored along with all 2015 state teachers of the year at the White House Wednesday.

At Palo Duro High School in Amarillo, Texas, Peeples teaches 11th-grade English and also serves as a teacher leader. Her diverse students include many refugees who speak English as a second language and come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Every student has greatness in them, and it is the work of the teacher to help them discover it,” she said. In an on-air interview today, CBS This Morning asked Peeples what the best part is about being a teacher. “You can help write the end of the story for every kid,” she said. “That’s the most exciting and the most privileging thing about doing this job.”

Peeples worked in a variety of other fields before realizing that the classroom is where she belongs. Teaching, she told CCSSO, “helped me to find that exact point on the Venn diagram of my deepest happiness intersecting with what I saw as the greatest need.”

She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from West Texas A&M University and her master’s in education with a focus on curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA).

“We are all very proud of Shanna Peeples, who graduated from UTA College of Education with a master of education in Triple Literacy,” said Jeanne Gerlach, dean of the UTA College of Education. “Research indicates that more than anything else in a student’s school day life, good teaching matters most. Shanna’s recognition as the 2015 National Teacher of the Year exemplifies good teaching at its best. How fortunate her students are.”

The three other finalists for the 2015 National Teacher of the Year also completed higher education-based teacher preparation programs.

  • Catherine Caine, 2015 Hawaii Teacher of the Year – Caine, who teaches second grade at Waikiki School in Honolulu, Hawaii, received her bachelor’s degree in child development from San Diego State University (CA) and her master’s degree in curriculum studies from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
  • Ann Marie Corgill, 2015 Alabama Teacher of the Year – Corgill, who teaches fourth grade at Cherokee Bend Elementary in Mountain Brook, Alabama, earned her bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Alabama and her master’s degree in early childhood education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
  • Kathy Nimmer, 2015 Indiana Teacher of the Year – Nimmer, who teaches English at William Henry Harrison High School in West Lafayette, Indiana, received her bachelor’s degree in English education from Trinity Christian College (IL).

“AACTE is proud to join the many voices honoring these model educators,” said Sharon P. Robinson, Ed.D., president and CEO of AACTE. “We also congratulate our member educator preparation programs that helped set the national and state teachers of the year on the path to accomplished practice.”

AACTE is honored to be a member of the National Selection Committee, comprising representatives from 15 national education organizations that choose four finalists from state nominations, conduct personal interviews with the finalists and ultimately select the National Teacher of the Year.


AACTE: The Leading Voice on Educator PreparationThe American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners on Day 1. Its over 800 member institutions represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE leads the field in advocacy and capacity building by promoting innovation and effective practices as critical to reforming educator preparation. For more information, visit

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