MERIDIAN, Idaho — Editor's note: This content is sponsored by Idaho CapEd Credit Union.
It was just a normal Tuesday in Todd Knight's classroom at Crossroads Middle School, when an important visitor walked in to make a surprise presentation. Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra was there to make an important announcement.
"It was incredibly weird! Because she walked in and the first comment she made was, 'Don't mind us,’” science and engineering teacher Todd Knight remembers.
"Congratulations Mr Knight! You are Idaho's 2022 Teacher of the Year," Ybarra said.
According to the State Department of Education, Knight was selected from a pool of more than 150 nominees and ten finalists.
"One of the highest honors that you could receive as an educator in the state of Idaho, is 'Teacher of the Year 2022,’” Superintendent Ybarra explains.
Crossroads Middle School Principal, Joe Palaia, says Knight's skills in science and engineering are needed at Crossroads Middle School, a smaller “alternative” school for students who may struggle to learn in larger, more traditional settings.
"He just has a way when he communicates with them that engages them and engages everyone in his class,” Palaia said.
Knight's students agree.
"Mr Knight is a great teacher because he values people as people, not as students,” said CMS 8th grader, Aiden Boice.
"He lets us move at our own pace, he lets us test ourselves whenever we feel we're ready for it,” said Ryan Kight, 8th grader at CMS.
"He's super caring about all of his students' educations, and just committed to what he does,” said Jalee Amy, 8th grader at Crossroads.
Knight says his students are not only more attentive, and but also encouraged and empowered to learn about what they’re interested in.
"I find kids are more engaged when it's hands-on stuff, instead of theoretical stuff. They like building and creating,” he said. "I have kids that really struggle with putting ideas on paper, but they're watching footage of football tackles and starting to look at equal and opposite reactions. And then they're starting to put it on paper because it's something they're passionate about, and they're starting to analyze it in a different way."
During the announcement, Superintendent Ybarra presented Knight with a bouquet of balloons, and a check for $1,000. Knight will be a spokesman and representative for Idaho educators, and serve as Idaho's nominee for National Teacher of the Year
"He is in the teaching business because he understands that that is calling,” says Ybarra, “And again, in his words, he wanted to give back in an unselfish way."
If you would like to nominate a teacher who is going above and beyond, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Educators, for more information on submitting an application for a classroom grant through the Idaho CapEd Foundation, visit www.capedfoundation.org.
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