Danielle Riha, the 2019 Alaska Teacher of the Year, is one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award, according to a release from the state Department of Education Wednesday. Riha teaches middle school students at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School in Anchorage.

“I am truly humbled by this recognition and am grateful to the amazing people who have taught me cultural and educational values and techniques,” said Riha. “I am excited to use this opportunity to inspire and engage all stakeholders to work together to promote and support each other; be culturally responsive, creative, and relevant;, and make our schools and communities full of passionate learning.”

Alaska Education Commissioner Dr. Michael Johnson congratulated Riha on the honor. “Ms. Riha is a powerful advocate for both her students and her community, and an inspiring example of an educator making a positive difference in the lives of students,” Johnson said.

One of the finalists will be named 2019 Teacher of the Year this spring, then travel the country representing educators and advocating for teachers and students.

The only time an Alaska educator has been named Teacher of the Year was when Elaine Griffin of Kodiak was chosen in 1995.

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