BP Program Recognizes Teachers of Excellence

2015 marks the twentieth year of the Alaska BP Teachers of Excellence program. Teachers are nominated by students, parents, co-workers, and administrators all over the state.

Out of all of the nominations, up to ten from each region are chosen as finalists, and then one is chosen to be the overall winner.

“Teachers don’t get recognized much. It’s like the Superbowl for teachers, it’s a big moment,” Jim Anderson said. Anderson, a mathematics teacher at Dimond, was among the top ten winners in 2012.

“Mr. Anderson cuts to the chase. He’s realistic with his students and he treats his students as equals,” Freshman Nora Rodvik said. “He approaches teaching in a different way than most people do. He teaches the things that will benefit us the most in the long run.”

Teachers spend a lot of time on their students, and there are tons of reasons why a certain teacher could get nominated.

All of the three teachers interviewed agreed that the main reason why a teacher would get nominated is because that teacher made a significant impact on a students life, inside and outside the classroom.

Besides making a difference in a student’s life, nominees also share at least one characteristic.

“They generally are passionate about their job, spend lots of time at school and are involved in various other ways within their school, not just the classroom,” science teacher and BP Teacher of Excellence winner, Laurel Stutzer said.

“Mrs. Stutzer stands out from other teachers because she really engages with her students and makes sure every single person understands what we’re learning,” Freshman Kobe Vanderwood said. “She’s also just really nice and helpful.

“The extra help she gives is really appreciated. A lot of teachers I’ve had don’t take the time to slow down for the kids that are struggling a little bit to understand a certain concept.”

Kim Liland, a teacher from East, is a nominee for the first time. Liland teaches ESL, English Second Language, a class for those who are new to speaking English, along with Alaska Studies. In addition to teaching, she also runs International Club.

Although she does not know who nominated her, Liland said, “It’s an honor, it feels super great. There are so many teachers in this state.”

The website for this program, www.bpteachers.com, said that there is a $500 dollar gift card prize with an additional $500 given to the winning teachers school.

Stutzer said, “I believe it was $1200 and I used the money to take my anatomy students on a field trip to Seattle to see the Bodies Exhibit. So many teachers deserve this award every year, not just one.”

Anderson added that the top ten selected from the nominee pool are invited to the annual invitation-only dinner hosted for the new winners each year. “The food really is amazing,” said Anderson.

Winners will be announced March 30, 2015. Those who nominated winning teachers will be invited to the awards ceremony.