Alaska Educator Cat Walker Emerges as Finalist for 2024 National Teacher of the Year Award

Alaska Educator Cat Walker Emerges as Finalist for 2024 National Teacher of the Year AwardCat Walker, the 2024 Alaska Teacher of the Year, has been announced as one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year Award. Her journey to this esteemed recognition has been marked by dedication, innovation and a profound commitment to her students’ success.

“My students just kind of sat there in shock,” Walker shared, reflecting on the moment when the announcement was made. “It was very different than having the school find out in an empty classroom, and I’m so glad I got to experience it with students because they’re who it’s all about. And that’s what I do it for.”

Cat Walker has been teaching at Dimond High School since 2017, where she has made a significant impact across various subjects, including Engineering Essentials, Unmanned Aviation Science, Oceanography, Marine Biology, Biology and 9th grade Science. She is deeply passionate about STEM education and has pioneered courses such as Project Lead the Way Engineering Essentials. The 2024 Alaska Teacher of the Year holds a Master of Arts in teaching from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, a Bachelor of Science in biology from Brandeis University and has completed the Semester in Environmental Science at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy extended his congratulations to Walker, recognizing the impact of her exceptional teaching methods. “Congratulations to Ms. Walker for earning this great distinction,” said Governor Dunleavy. “As a former teacher and administrator, I know how much of a difference it makes when a skilled teacher goes above and beyond for their students, and I’m thankful to have Ms. Walker teaching in Alaska.”

Heidi Teshner, DEED’s Acting Commissioner, echoed these sentiments, applauding Walker’s dedication to teaching over her 17-year career. “Congratulations to Ms. Walker on this recognition, and we celebrate all of her accomplishments,” said Teshner. “Ms. Walker’s problem-based career-oriented lessons encourage students of all abilities to ignite their interest in STEM-related work and activities that will benefit them long after high school. Her dedication to teaching is an inspiration to all, and her students are lucky to have her as a teacher.”

Walker’s commitment to providing engaging and meaningful experiences for her students is evident in her lesson plans. “The students will be simulating cleaning up an oil spill, and retrieving objects and navigating through small, small tunnels and simulating careers that they actually could have along the coastline in Alaska,” Walker explained.

Reflecting on her love for teaching, Walker expressed, “I love teaching students because it’s that moment when they learn a new skill, or they learn how to problem solve, and they develop that growth mindset, and you know that they’re going to be okay.” Walker’s dedication to her students’ growth and success exemplifies the qualities of an outstanding educator, making her a deserving finalist for the 2024 National Teacher of the Year Award.

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