DESE Announces Finalists for 2024 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 2024 Missouri Teacher of the Year award.

The finalists are

  • Kaylin Bade, Washington School District — Agricultural Sciences, Washington Middle School
  • David Choate, Rockwood R-VI — English Language Arts, Lafayette High School
  • Maria F. Derner, Belton 124 — English Language Development, Belton High School
  • Sabria El-Kurbu, Moberly School District — High School English, Moberly High School
  • Heather Helle, Scott City R-1 — Music, Scott City Elementary and Middle School
  • Kathryn Victoria Inman, Greenville R-II — English Language Arts, Greenville Elementary School
  • Greg Kester, Potosi R-III — Social Studies, Potosi High School

A committee comprised of teachers, business leaders, and education organization officials will choose the Missouri Teacher of the Year following interviews with each finalist in the coming weeks. The winner, finalists, semi-finalists, and Regional Teachers of the Year will be honored during a recognition event on October 16. The new Missouri Teacher of the Year will serve as the state’s nominee for the 2024 National Teacher of the Year.

“There are about 70,000 public school educators across our state who work each day to ensure Missouri students receive the best education possible,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “We are working across the state to ensure our educators feel valued and that their work is appreciated, and this is one way to showcase what exceptional teaching in our state looks like.”

The Missouri Teacher of the Year program recognizes the efforts of effective teachers, working tirelessly to provide a high-quality education to their students. Christina Andrade Melly, an English Language Arts teacher from Ritenour School District’s Ritenour High School, is the 2023 Missouri Teacher of the Year.