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Wolf Administration Announces Finalists for 2020 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year


Harrisburg, PA - Today, the Wolf Administration announced the 12 finalists for the 2020 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year.

“Teaching is more than a profession; it is a calling,” Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera said. "Teachers spend their lives educating and serving students, inspiring them to recognize their potential and to achieve their goals. The Department of Education applauds this year’s finalists, who represent the commitment and professionalism that so many Pennsylvania educators share.”

The 2020 finalists hail from every corner of the commonwealth and include elementary, middle and high school educators in English, the sciences and art.

The 2020 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year finalists are:

  • Matthew Binder, Communications Technology, Hempfield Senior High School, Hempfield School District (Lancaster County)
  • Michele Bittner, 5th grade English, West Penn Elementary School, Tamaqua Area School District (Schuylkill County)
  • Amanda Connell, Food Service Production and Management, Northern Tier Career Center (Bradford County)
  • Colleen Epler-Ruths, Science, Shikellamy High School, Shikellamy School District (Northumberland County)
  • Javius Galan, 6th-8th grade Special Education, Wilson West Middle School, Wilson School District (Berks County)
  • Leanne Jarossy, Math, Central Bucks High School, Central Bucks School District (Bucks County)
  • William Melvin, English, Central Bucks High School, Central Bucks School District (Bucks County)
  • Katona Miller, 7th & 8th grade Science, South Scranton Intermediate School, Scranton School District (Lackawanna County)
  • Kristen Moose, 8th grade Science, Dallastown Area Middle School, Dallastown Area School District (York County)
  • Melissa Pierce, 3rd grade English, Pennypack Elementary School, Hatboro-Horsham School District (Montgomery County)
  • Paolo Tolomeo, 4th grade all subjects, Haine Elementary School, Seneca Valley School District (Butler County)
  • Joseph Welch, middle school Social Studies, North Hills Middle School, North Hills School District (Allegheny County)

Nominations for the Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year were submitted by students, parents, peers, and members of the community wishing to honor and recognize educator achievements both inside and outside the classroom.

The finalists must be prepared to effectively carry out the duties of the state’s Teacher of the Year, including being Pennsylvania’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year. The recognition program is co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania chapter of the National State Teacher of the Year, which was founded in 1995.

The 2020 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year will be announced in December 2019 in Hershey at the SAS Institute, PDE’s annual professional development conference for educators.

Pennsylvania’s 2019 Teacher of the Year recipient is Marilyn Pryle, who teaches English at Abington Heights High School in Lackawanna County.

Rivera said that nominations for Teacher of the Year can be submitted all year long by students, community members, parents, or teachers. More information is available on the PDE website.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs please visit the Department of Education’s website at or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Levis - 717-783-9802 or

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