LRSD Educator Named a Top 14 Regional Finalist for 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to our own Dr. Beth Maris, Little Rock Central High School - In the Running for Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Photo of Dr. Beth Maris(From Arkansas Department of Education - August 23)

LITTLE ROCK — Fourteen outstanding teachers have been named 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional Finalists. 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key will recognize the regional finalists at 10 a.m. Aug. 30, 2017, in the Old Supreme Court room at the Capitol. During the ceremony, the four state semi-finalists will be announced. 

“I am excited for the opportunity to recognize these dynamic Arkansas teachers as regional finalists through our Arkansas Teacher of the Year program,” Key said. “As we work to transform Arkansas to lead the nation in student-focused education, we must recognize and celebrate teachers who have demonstrated educational excellence. I am extremely proud of these regional finalists and for the example they have set for their students, colleagues and future educators.”

2018 ATOY Regional Finalists

Kim Armstrong 
Grades K-2 Science
Wynne Primary School 
Wynne School District
Crowley’s Ridge Educational Service Cooperative

Brittany Berry 
Grades 6-7 EAST
Helen Tyson Middle School 
Springdale School District
Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Cameron Blackwood 
Grades 10-12 Science 
Clarendon High School
Clarendon School District
Great Rivers Education Service Cooperative

Brandy Browning 
Grade 9 Science
Magnolia Junior High School
Magnolia School District
South Central Service Cooperative

Kirby Childress 
Grade 6 Math
Pinkston Middle School 
Mountain Home School District
Northcentral Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Anne Formby 
Grades 10-12 Math
Arkansas High School
Texarkana Arkansas School District
Southwest Arkansas Education Cooperative

Shannon Holeyfield 
Grade 9 English and Grades 9-12 Yearbook 
Searcy High School 
Searcy School District
Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Cooperative

Judy Holland
Grade 9 English and Grades 9-12 Alternative Learning Environment 
Walnut Ridge High School
Lawrence County School District
Northeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Randi House 
Theodore Jones Elementary School
Conway School District
Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative

Amanda Jones
Grades 10-12 Science 
Poyen High School
Poyen School District
Dawson Education Cooperative

Beth Maris
Grades 10-12 Science
Central High School
Little Rock School District
Pulaski County

Mollie Sanford
Grades 10-12 Family and Consumer Science 
Dumas New Tech High School 
Dumas School District
Southeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Tasha Shoate 
Grade 3
Cavanaugh Elementary School 
Fort Smith School District
Guy Fenter Education Service Cooperative

Morgan Wilson 
Grades 10-12 Math
Sheridan High School 
Sheridan School District
Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative

The Arkansas Teacher of the Year program is part of the National Teacher of the Year program and recognizes exceptional teachers who demonstrate strong teaching and leadership skills. This year’s regional finalists will receive a $1,000 award, with the Arkansas Teacher of the Year receiving an additional $14,000. The awards are made possible by a grant provided by the Walton Family Foundation, a long-time supporter of the program. 

After the four state semi-finalists are announced at the ceremony Aug. 30, the selection committee will conduct site visits. During the visits, the committee will observe the teacher in the classroom and interview the teacher and school administrators. A surprise notification announcing the 2018 Arkansas Teacher of the Year will be held later this fall. 

In addition to the recognition ceremony, a reception for the regional finalists will be held in Room 207 at the Capitol immediately following the ceremony. Several State Board of Education members plan to attend the events, but no official business will be conducted. 

To learn more about the ATOY program, go to