2022 Missouri Teacher of the Year Semifinalists Announced


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 2022 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 semifinalists includes teachers from multiple grade levels and subject areas and represents all of the state’s nine Regional Professional Development Center (RPDC) areas:

  • Eric Blankenship, Troy R-III — Music, Troy Buchanan High School
  • Kristen Dowling, St. Louis — Science, Carnahan High School of the Future
  • Donna Flood, Clark Co. R-1 — U.S. History, Clark County R-1 High School
  • Matthew Good, Lee's Summit R-VII — Debate, Lee's Summit West High School
  • Rachel Hensley, Carl Junction Schools — Gifted, Carl Junction Junior High School
  • Gina M. Naas, Nevada R-V — School Counselor, Bryan Elementary
  • Colin Pettegrew, St. Joseph — Mathematics, Robidoux Middle School
  • Bethany Petty, Central R-III — Social Studies, Central High School
  • Todd Schnake, Raymore-Peculiar — Theatre and Speech, Raymore-Peculiar High School
  • Lauren Schoellhorn, Rockwood R-VI — Social Studies, Eureka High School
  • Eleanor Taylor, Pattonville R-III — English Learners, Pattonville High School
  • Vanessa Thomson, North Kansas City 74 — Elementary, Chapel Hill Elementary
  • Richard White, Hollister R-V — Chemistry, Hollister High School
  • Amanda Wyatt, Mehlville R-IX — English Learner Specialist, Forder Elementary
  • James Young, Ferguson-Florissant R-II — Musical Theatre, Johnson Wabash Sixth Grade Center
  • Dr. Suzy Zerr, Francis Howell R-III — Instructional Coach, Harvest Ridge Elementary
  • Melissa Ziegler, Washington — Project Lead the Way - Biomedical Science, Four Rivers Career Center

The Teacher of the Year selection process began with the announcement of 35 Regional Teachers of the Year. Next, DESE will reveal the finalists for the 2022 Missouri Teacher of the Year award on Thursday, September 2.

Darrion Cockrell (a.k.a. Mr. D.C.), a physical education teacher from Lindbergh Schools’ Crestwood Elementary School, is the 2021 Missouri Teacher of the Year.