Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra and Governor Brad Little surprised Stacie Lawler in her classroom Thursday to announce she is Idaho’s Teacher of the Year for 2020.
A blue-ribbon plane selected the Timberlake Junior High School health and physical education teacher from among six finalists.
She will now serve as a spokesperson and representative for Idaho educators and travel to Washington, D.C., as the state’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year.
“A great teacher focuses on the whole child, and Stacie Lawler is a phenomenal teacher,” Superintendent Ybarra said. “Her students don’t just learn the subject matter, they learn about themselves, gaining the insight, confidence and resilience they’ll need to overcome obstacles and succeed in school and beyond.”
Lawler said her key mission and message as Idaho Teacher of the Year will be to combat the stigma surrounding mental health.
“We must teach our children that it is OK to talk about not being OK,” she said. “What if we had a child tell us they were thinking of killing themselves and we knew what to do about it?”
Lawler has taught in the Lakeland Joint School District for 11 years, first as a physical education teacher at Twin Lakes Elementary, where she designed and delivered a new curriculum for K-6 physical education.
She did the same for grades 7-8 curriculum at Timberlake Junior High, where she has taught health and PE since 2014. Earlier in her career, she taught in the Vallivue and Wilder School districts.
Last year she was named Teacher of the Year for the Lakeland Joint School District, and she previously earned that title at Twin Lakes Elementary and twice at Timberlake Junior High.
She takes over the Idaho Teacher of the Year title from 2019 winner Marc Beitia, an American Falls teacher and FFA advisor who attended the Sept. 26 announcement to congratulate his successor.