Finalists Announcement for SREB/iNACOL National Online Teacher of the Year 

News From SREB | Press Release
2013 NOTY Finalists
2013 National Online Teachers of the Year Finalists
Contact SREB for photos.

Beth Day
SREB Communications Director
(404) 879-5544

Matlea Parker
SREB NOTY Program Manager
(404) 879-5595

The Southern Regional Education Board works with 16 member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Based in Atlanta, SREB was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to help leaders in education and government advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region.

iNACOL is the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a nonprofit membership association based in the Washington, D.C., area. Its more than 3,100 members represent a diverse cross-section of K-12 education from school districts, charter schools, state education agencies, nonprofit organizations, colleges, universities, research institutions, corporate entities, and other content and technology providers. 

SREB, iNACOL Announce Finalists for National Online K-12 Teacher of the Year Award

Atlanta — January 30, 2013 — Three finalists for the National Online Teacher of the Year Award for K-12 online learning were announced today by the two nonprofit organizations that present the honor, the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). One of these finalists will be named 2013 National Online Teacher of the Year on March 7. 

The SREB/iNACOL National Online Teacher of the Year Award is the national award to recognize an outstanding online teacher for exceptional quality in online K-12 education. This year’s judging committee evaluated 49 nominations of online educators in public schools and state virtual schools from 19 states to make the selections.

The finalists are:
“Learning from America’s very best online teachers can help us improve online teaching and standards for classrooms across the country in this fast-growing field,” said Joan Lord, SREB vice president for education policies. “These teachers are leading the way to individualize instruction, bring specialized courses to more students, and get students excited about learning.”

"The NOTY Award is a highlight of every year," said Susan Patrick, president and CEO of iNACOL. "Teaching in online and blended learning environments demands diverse talents, dedication and, above all, a commitment to personalizing the education of each student as an individual. All of this year's finalists represent the very best in all of these areas to be found across the field."

All three 2013 finalists will be honored and the winner will receive a custom crystal "flame of excellence" sculpture at an awards dinner March 7, during the SREB Education Technology Cooperative’s Symposium on Virtual Teaching and Learning at the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel. The winner will also receive a trip to the Virtual School Symposium sponsored by iNACOL October 27-30 in Orlando, Florida. In addition to numerous speaking appearances in support of online learning, the winner will be recognized during the iNACOL Annual Meeting and featured on the SREB and iNACOL websites. 

Sponsors of the award are AT&T, Blackboard Collaborate, Florida Virtual School, Pearson Foundation, SAS and VSCHOOLZ.

About the finalists

Renee Citlau of Anaheim, California, is an online business teacher at Cypress High School and lead online teacher in the Anaheim Union High School District. She sees online learning as a transformational way to serve students who are disengaged from traditional schools; make curriculum accessible to English learners, special-needs, and gifted and talented students; and provide equitable access to specialized courses.

“Online learning has the potential to transform education from a 20th-century, teacher-directed model to a 21st-century, student-directed model,” she said. “It gives students choice in learning and integrates skills such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication.”

A 16-year teaching veteran, Citlau has taught online for six years. 
She piloted the district’s first online class in 2007, after her study in a master of arts in educational technology leadership program showed her the potential to engage dissatisfied students. She also helps skilled classroom teachers learn to blend online tools into their classrooms and to teach online. She is a Leading Edge Certification trainer and active member of Computer Using Educators, the International Society for Technology in Education and the International Association for K12 Online Learning. In 2012, she won the Computer Using Educators and California Learning Resource Network Online Teacher of the Year Award. She was Cypress High’s 2008 Teacher of the Year.
Jennifer Currin of Wilmington, North Carolina, has worked as an online English teacher at North Carolina Virtual Public School for three years and has been a teacher since 2003. Learning, she says, is not one-size-fits-all. She differentiates instruction to help special-needs students with disabilities complete the same curriculum as regular-education students. In credit recovery classes, she works with students who have never known success in the course she is teaching online.

“They come to me jaded, discouraged and unsure of their own potential. They need that second chance. They need a personalized learning experience,” she said. “It is in the online classroom that I am able to give these students and their families the one-on-one attention and help that they need.”

“I saw this in my face-to-face classroom as well, but I never really learned how to differentiate,” Currin said. “It was in the online classroom that I learned how to create a community of learners, utilize data and engage students.”

Continual innovation is key to the success of online education, she said, to stay one step ahead of other providers as the broad adoption of the Common Core State Standards creates opportunity for both competition and collaboration.
Michelle Licata of Tamarac, Florida, has taught history and psychology at Florida Virtual School since 2006. Online teaching, she says, allows her to create customized pathways for students who learn in different ways. At the outset, she identifies a student’s struggles or particular learning style, then focuses specific content and personalized feedback to help the student master the topic.

“I am able to provide each student a front-row seat, an experience contoured for [his or her] learning style,” she said. “I became a Florida Virtual School teacher to spend one-on-one time with students, to build a rapport with my students and their families, and to create the opportunity for students in this 21st-century world to learn in a 21st-century classroom.”

A National Board Certified teacher and 2012 Florida Virtual School Teacher of the Year, she has taught since 1997 and moved to online teaching in 2006. She coaches and mentors new and seasoned teachers to use technology to balance work and home life so they can work smarter, and she serves as an advocate for Florida’s online teachers.

“I believe online learning can be the door to the world for all children, regardless of social class, living conditions or physical location,” she said. “We are the key to opening the doors to the world.”

© 2013 Southern Regional Education Board. All rights reserved.
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