2024 Missouri Teacher of the Year Semi-finalists Announced

Aug 18, 2023

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has announced the 17 Regional Teachers of the Year who have been selected as semi-finalists for the 2024 Missouri Teacher of the Year award. The Teacher of the Year program spotlights the positive impact excellent teachers have on their students.

The list of semi-finalists includes teachers from multiple grade levels, subject areas, and nearly every region of the state:

  • Carrie Hill, North Andrew Co. R-VI — Second Grade, North Andrew Elementary
  • David Choate, Rockwood R-VI — English Language Arts, Lafayette High School
  • Dustin Orton, Holden R-III — Ancient World History, Holden Middle School
  • Greg Kester, Potosi R-III — Social Studies, Potosi High School
  • Heather Helle, Scott City R-1 — Music, Scott City Elementary and Middle School
  • Janet Mees Reinert, Kirkwood R-VII — Library Media, Kirkwood High School​​​​​​​
  • Jeffrey Collier, St. Charles R-VI — Band, Hardin Middle School​​​​​​
  • Kathryn Victoria Inman, Greenville R-II — English Language Arts, Greenville Elementary School
  • Kaylin Bade, Washington School District — Agricultural Sciences, Washington Middle School
  • Maria F. Derner, Belton 124 — English Language Development, Belton High School
  • Matthew Willis, Blue Springs R-IV — Band, Brittany Hill Middle School
  • Melissa Leibbrandt, Special School District — Special Education, Claymont Elementary
  • Michelle Thompson, Ash Grove R-IV — First Grade, Ash Grove Elementary
  • Olivia Howard, Francis Howell R-III — Choir, Francis Howell Middle School
  • Sabria Mustafa El-Kurbu, Moberly School District — High School English, Moberly High School
  • Sarah Mancusi, Nixa Public Schools — Second Grade, Mathews Elementary
  • Zachery Ruble, Pleasant Hope R-VI — History, Pleasant Hope Ranch School

The Teacher of the Year selection process began with the announcement of 34 Regional Teachers of the Year who represented each of the state’s nine Regional Professional Development Center (RPDC) areas. Next, DESE will announce the finalists for the 2024 Missouri Teacher of the Year award on Thursday, August 31.

Christina Andrade Melly, an English Language Arts teacher from Ritenour School District’s Ritenour High School, is the 2023 Missouri Teacher of the Year.