Angelia Ebner, fifth grade teacher at Maricopa Elementary School.

Angelia Ebner has a special connection with students. During her decade in the Maricopa Unified School District, many have been in her classrooms – she has taught kindergarten through fifth grade – and her influence lasts long after students have moved on to other grades and schools.

Ebner, who teaches fifth grade at Maricopa Elementary School, was named one of the 10 finalists for Arizona Teacher of the Year.

“I am in my eleventh year of teaching and I love working in many different educational settings,” she said. “As an educator, my goal is to inspire life-long learning in my students and facilitate leadership and efficacy among my peers.”

Ebner is an Arizona Master Teacher, a National Board Certified Teacher, a National Board Ambassador, vice president of the Maricopa Education Association and a Candidate Support Provider for National Board Candidates through the Arizona K-12 Center.

According to MES Principal Jennifer Robinson, teachers can be nominated for Teacher of the Year by an administrator, co-worker, student, school or district committee, friend or family member or even nominate themselves.

“To be considered for the award, teacher candidates must submit a written application that is reviewed by a panel of judges consisting of educators, students and members of the business community,” Robinson said. “Ten finalists are selected from the written applications. The 10 finalists are asked to prepare a 15-minute DVD teaching in the classroom. 

The finalists are interviewed and must give an impromptu speech. Then, four “Ambassadors for Excellence” are chosen. Five others will be semi-finalists, and remaining finalist is Teacher of the Year.

“The Teacher of the Year and Ambassadors have multiple opportunities during the year to make public appearances throughout the state, speaking to professional, civic, educational, parent and student groups,” Robinson said.