Governor Wolf Announces 2018 Teacher of the Year Finalists

April 13, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced the 2018 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year finalists.

“Teachers spend their lives educating, empowering, listening, mentoring, guiding, inspiring, serving, and supporting each of their students,” Governor Wolf said. “I applaud each of these educators for their hard work and for earning this important recognition.”

The 2018 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year finalists are:

  • Laura Bitler, Daniel Boone High School, Daniel Boone Area School District
  • Tim Dzurko, Altoona Area Junior High School, Altoona Area School District
  • Christina Frank, Montour High School, Montour School District
  • Adam Gebhardt, Jefferson Elementary School, West Jefferson Hills School District
  • Aaron Goldfarb, Media Elementary School, Rose Tree Media School District
  • Linda Granite, Marshall Elementary School, North Allegheny School District
  • Georgette Hackman, Cocalico Middle School, Cocalico School District
  • Barbara Kurtz, Meadville Area Senior High School, Crawford Central School District
  • Gregory Mason, Shaler Area High School, Shaler Area School District
  • Lara Miller Owlett, Mount Pleasant Area Junior Senior High School, Wellsboro Area School District
  • Brandy Spielman, Waynesboro Area Middle School, Waynesboro Area School District
  • Jennifer Wahl, Loyalsock Township High School, Loyalsock Township School District

The 12 educators were nominated by students, parents, colleagues and members of the community who wish to recognize their achievements both in and outside the classroom.

“Teaching is more than a profession — it is a calling,” Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera said. “This year’s finalists represent the countless dedicated Pennsylvania educators whose work is changing the lives of their students and shaping our communities.”

The finalists must be prepared to effectively carry out the duties of the state’s Teacher of the Year, including being Pennsylvania’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year. Pennsylvania’s Teacher of the Year program is co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania chapter of the National State Teacher of the Year, which was founded in 1995.

The Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year will be announced in December 2017 in Hershey at the SAS Institute, PDE’s annual professional development conference for educators.

Pennsylvania’s 2017 Teacher of the Year is Michael Soskil, an educator of 19 years, who currently teaches science to third through fifth graders at Wallenpaupack South Elementary School in Pike and Wayne counties.

Rivera said that nominations for Teacher of the Year can be submitted all year long by students, community members, parents, or teachers, by completing a nomination form at

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