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The Arizona K12 Center’s Executive Director, Dr. Kathy Wiebke, offers her education insights in this monthly column.


The 10th Annual Celebration of Accomplished Teaching is over. The boxes of decorations have been put away, the linens returned, and the bills paid. What remains front and center are the memories.

Ten years ago, we had no idea that what began as a celebration of 100 teachers, packed into a sparse conference room, would mature into a full evening at a gorgeous resort with nearly 600 people in attendance. This past Feb. 9, I spent the evening at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass honoring Arizona teachers who went the extra mile to achieve National Board Certification or extended themselves to mentor the newest members of our profession. Throughout the evening, I heard how much people were enjoying themselves. Most importantly, I repeatedly heard how special the honorees had been made to feel.

On any given school day, teachers experience a number of tiny celebrations. There are joyous moments that come from a child reading their first sentence, solving a complex math problem, or entering into a thoughtful, fact-based debate. There is silent cheering when teachers see a shy student speak up in class, a group of students stand up to a bully, or the student they have been worried about finally open up about what is going on at home.

These are the special moments teachers encounter on a regular basis. Their daily lives abound with opportunities to celebrate student accomplishments. But who celebrates the teachers who conscientiously improve their practice and advance the profession while helping students achieve their own victories?

Our Celebration of Accomplished Teaching aims to do just that, and based on the feedback we received, this year was a success. Now that the evening is over, how do we continue to celebrate and honor them? How do we show them our appreciation for all they do on a regular basis?

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