Three finalists for the National Online Teacher of the Year Award were announced yesterday by the Southern Regional Education Board and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. The two nonprofit groups created the award in 2010 to recognize outstanding K-12 teachers specializing in virtual education and to bring attention to high-impact practices in online teaching.
This year's finalists, selected by the judging committee from a pool 49 nominees, are:
• Renee Citlau, online business teacher, Cypress High School, Anaheim (Calif.) Union High School District
• Jennifer Currin, English teacher, North Carolina Virtual Public School
• Michelle Licata, history and psychology teacher, Florida Virtual School
All three have been teaching in virtual-education environments for at least three years. According to their bios, they all also see online learning as offering new opportunities to engage struggling students and individualize instruction.
"[My students] come to me jaded, discouraged and unsure of their own potential. They need that second chance. They need a personalized learning experience," says Currin, who teaches credit-recovery classes to students who have fallen behind. "It is in the online classroom that I am able to give these students and their families the one-on-one attention and help that they need."
The award winner will be named on March 7.