DESE Announces Finalists for 2023 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 2023 Missouri Teacher of the Year award.

The finalists are

  • Christina Andrade Melly, Ritenour — English Language Arts, Ritenour High School
  • Dr. Allison Fleetwood, Nixa Public Schools — Theatre, Nixa High School
  • Cotreena Jones, Ferguson-Florissant School District — English Language Arts, Johnson Wabash 6th Grade Center
  • Kristina Kohl, Lindbergh — English Language Arts, Truman Middle School
  • Matthew Pierce Matheney V, Miller R-II — Mathematics, Miller High School
  • Katherine Meyers, Kirkwood School District — English, Kirkwood High School
  • Lindsey Watson, Blue Springs School District — Grade 4, Sunny Pointe Elementary

A committee comprised of teachers, business leaders, and education organization officials will choose the Missouri Teacher of the Year following interviews with each finalist. The winner, finalists, semi-finalists, and Regional Teachers of the Year will be honored during a recognition event on October 17. The new Missouri Teacher of the Year will serve as the state’s nominee for the 2023 National Teacher of the Year.

“More than 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. James Young, a Musical Theatre teacher from Johnson Wabash Sixth Grade Center (Ferguson-Florissant R-II), is the current Missouri Teacher of the Year.