The Idaho Teacher of the Year Program, which began in 1959, is one of the most prestigious honors in the state for teachers. The program focuses public attention on excellence in teaching that has a real impact on the students of Idaho.
The Idaho Teacher of the Year is chosen from among district nominees by a selection committee representing the state education leaders and lawmakers. Each school district and charter school may nominate one teacher. School districts should submit the nominations to the State Department of Education before the end of the school year.
The Idaho Teacher of the Year also becomes a nominee for the National Teacher of the Year, a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers that is sponsored by Scholastic Inc.
2019 Teacher of the Year - Marc Beitia
Idaho’s newest Teacher of the Year offers a distinctive blend of credentials and characteristics: In addition to being a skilled and passionate high school teacher, he leads the state’s most-honored FFA program and serves as mayor of American Falls.
“As Idaho Teacher of the Year, Marc Beitia is a perfect fit for this state and the rural community he leads,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said. “A proud representative of Career Technical Education, Mr. Beitia exemplifies and strengthens the essential connections between agriculture and academics and between school and community.”
Superintendent Ybarra surprised Beitia with the award in his classroom Sept. 10. Now in his 35th year of teaching, Beitia helped create American Falls High School’s agriculture education program in 1990 and has been part of the school’s leadership team ever since. As advisor for American Falls’ FFA chapter, he has helped students develop strengths and skills to win numerous state and national honors with a focus on farming knowhow, technology, communication skills and command of agricultural issues. In each of the past two years, American Falls FFA has been named one of 10 National FFA Model of Excellence finalists and also received a National Premier Chapter Award both years.
Beitia expresses pride in his many students who have gone on to university success but also stresses the importance of developing a skilled local workforce, producing graduates who contribute to the local and Idaho economies by filling much-needed roles in area businesses.
The cycle of benefit flows in both directions. Area businesses have been hugely supportive of Beitia’s program and students, and FFA students with Spanish as their first language mentor Hispanic adult workers from major American Falls employers.
“As the employees gain skills and capabilities, so too will they gain more earning potential, thus raising that bar for everyone,” Beitia wrote in his teacher of the year application. “In doing so they will also decrease the number of my students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, consequently providing increased economic stability for our economic community.”
Fellow American Falls High teacher Caroline Wight sums up Beitia’s importance to the school and community: “Although he is the mayor, he is the center of American Falls due to the impact he has made as the FFA advisor. He is not afraid to speak his mind. He is not afraid to defend his students, whoever they may be … They know he has their back, and they have his.”
As Idaho's Teacher of the Year, Mr. Beitia will:
- Receive $1,000 from the State;
- Travel across Idaho talking with other teachers, legislators, and policymakers about education in our state;
- Travel to Washington, DC in the spring to meet Teachers of the Year from other states and the President of the United States; and,
- Serve as Idaho's nominee for National Teacher of the Year.
Congratulations Marc Beitia!