DESE Announces Finalists for 2022 Missouri Teacher of the Year


The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is excited to announce that seven educators have advanced as finalists for the 2022 Missouri Teacher of the Year award.

Those finalists include:

  • Kristen Dowling, St. Louis — Science, Carnahan High School of the Future
  • 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
  • Eleanor Taylor, Pattonville R-III — English Learners, Pattonville High School
  • Lauren Schoellhorn, Rockwood R-VI — Social Studies, Eureka High School
  • James Young, Ferguson-Florissant R-II — Musical Theatre, Johnson Wabash Sixth Grade Center
  • Melissa Ziegler, Washington — Project Lead the Way - Biomedical Science, Four Rivers Career Center

A committee comprised of teachers, business leaders, and education organization officials will choose the Missouri Teacher of the Year following interviews with each finalist on Wednesday, September 8. The winner, finalists, semi-finalists, and Regional Teachers of the Year will be honored during a recognition event on October 19. The new Missouri Teacher of the Year will serve as the state’s nominee for the 2022 National Teacher of the Year.

“Over 70,000 public school educators across our state work hard every day to make an impact on the lives of Missouri students,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “Taking time to honor the top educators across our state through the Teacher of the Year program is important, as we are continually striving to elevate the teaching profession and emphasize the significance of the work they do.”

The Missouri Teacher of the Year program recognizes the efforts of effective teachers, working tirelessly to provide a high-quality education to their students. Darrion Cockrell (a.k.a. Mr. DC), a physical education teacher from Crestwood Elementary School (Lindbergh Schools), is the current Missouri Teacher of the Year.