Parkway’s Burkes among TOY Regional finalists

LITTLE ROCK — Chrystal Burkes, a third-grade literacy teacher at Parkway Elementary School is one of 14 teachers from around the state that have been named 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Regional finalists.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key will recognize the regional finalists Aug. 16, at the Governor’s Mansion. Guests will arrive at 9:45 a.m., followed by networking and a reception. The program will begin at 11 a.m. During the ceremony, the four state semi-finalists will be announced.

“Each year we receive applications from some amazing teachers, and this year is no exception,” Key said. “These 14 teachers have demonstrated excellence in the classroom, and I am pleased to recognize them as regional finalists. They serve as role models for their peers, and I commend them and all the applicants for their commitment to ensuring our students graduate ready for college, career and community engagement.”

The other 2019 ATOY Regional Finalists include:

Renée Bailey
Grade 4 Math, Science & Social Studies
Central Elementary School
Magnolia School District
South Central Education Service Cooperative

Jennifer Biggers
Grades K-4 Literacy
Walnut Ridge Elementary School
Lawrence County School District
Northeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Juanita Harris
Grade 1
Union Elementary School
Texarkana Arkansas School District
Southwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Heather Hite
Grades 8-12 EAST
McCrory High School
McCrory School District
Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Cooperative

Marcus Luther
Grade 10 English
Wynne High School
Wynne School District
Crowley’s Ridge Education Service Cooperative

Stacey McAdoo
Grades 9-12 AVID & Communication
Little Rock Central High School
Little Rock School District
Pulaski County

Rob Plant
Grades 4-12 Computer Science
Mineral Springs High School
Mineral Springs School District
DeQueen-Mena Education Service Cooperative

Liz Richey
Grade 6 Literacy
Hermitage Elementary School
Hermitage School District
Southeast Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Blair Rogers
Grade 4 Reading & Social Studies
Richland Elementary School
West Memphis School District
Great Rivers Education Service Cooperative

Vanessa Stewart
Grade 4
Monitor Elementary School
Springdale School District
Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Margie Towery
Grade 10 Pre-AP Biology
Greenbrier High School
Greenbrier School District
Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative

Erica Walters
Alma Primary School
Alma School District
Guy Fenter Education Service Cooperative

Candace Wilson
Grade 8 Science
Sheridan Junior 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, which recognizes exceptional teachers who demonstrate strong teaching and leadership skills. The 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, who will be announced this fall, will apply to become the 2019 NTOY.

This year’s ATOY Regional Finalists will each receive a $1,000 award. Awards are made possible by a grant provided by the Walton Family Foundation, a long-time supporter of the program.

Some State Board of Education members plan to attend the event August 16 at the Governor’s Mansion, but no official business will be conducted.

To learn more about the ATOY program, go to

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