Arizona Teacher of Year Addresses FEA Meeting

March 04, 2011 / by / 2 Comments

By Doug Carroll
Communications Staff

The 2011 Arizona Teacher of the Year told Friday’s second day of the Future Educators Association state conference that a teacher has an opportunity to affect eternity.

Amanda McAdams, a former practicing attorney, now teaches English and student government at Apollo High School in Glendale. She was named Teacher of the Year by the Arizona Educational Foundation.

“It starts with you,” McAdams told nearly 500 high school students assembled in the North Gym for the morning’s general session. “It starts with leaving a positive message and a positive memory in students’ minds.”

AEF Teacher of the Year Amanda McAdams

McAdams told of a student named Jesse, who brought a defiant attitude to the first day of school.

“I knew I’d have to get into his head,” she said. “Through the year, he needed some special help, and we worked together on that. He improved and started to make some friends.”

On the last day of school, in a ritual wrap-up exercise described by McAdams as a “goodbye circle,” Jesse broke down in tears.

“He told me I was the first adult who had told him he was worth something and thought he could go somewhere in life,” McAdams said, asking the students to think of a teacher who had given them similar inspiration.

McAdams also encouraged the students to make connections with their teaching peers along the way to setting up their first classroom. It takes a support system to succeed, she said.

“That helps build the best package,” she said. “You are the future of Arizona. You hold the future of our state in your hands.”

Breakout sessions Friday were led by a number of faculty and staff from GCU, including Tacy Ashby, Lisa Aaroe, Kim Sims, Mori Kemper, Kat Valdivia, Nicole Porter, Brenda Combs, Casey Reason, Marjaneh Gilpatrick and Sheila Unwin.


Reach Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or [email protected].

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2 Responses
  1. Harold Holmes

    Hello Amanda,

    Congratulation on your award and a special congratulation for joining our strong teacher corp. I am sure you bring a unique talent to the classroom which ultimately, as evidenced by your story, benefits our students at the secondary and postsecondary levels. I work with working adults who inquire about requirements to become an elementary or secondary education teacher. We need more teachers, such as yourself, who explain the role of present day teachers and by deeds, demonstrate the commitment required to become a professional teacher.

    Thank you for your story and thank you for educating our youth.

    Mar.04.2011 at 2:20 pm
  2. Amanda

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I really enjoyed my time at the FEA conference and thank those who made it possible for me to share my thoughts. I love my job and will share that joy with anyone who will listen!!

    Mar.09.2011 at 9:37 pm
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