Beth Barkley Named 2024 D.C. Teacher of the Year for “Amplifying Immigrant Students’ Voices”

Beth Barkley Named 2024 D.C. Teacher of the Year for “Amplifying Immigrant Students’ Voices”By Michael Manyibe

Beth Barkley, a devoted educator at the Cardozo Education Campus, has been bestowed with the esteemed title of the 2024 District of Columbia (D.C.) Teacher of the Year. Specializing in teaching 9th and 10th grade English to newcomers in the International Academy, Barkley’s commitment to her students and her advocacy for educational equity have earned her this prestigious recognition.

The announcement came as a surprise to Barkley during what she thought was a ceremony marking International Day of the Girl. Standing in the library of Cardozo Education Campus, she listened as D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser highlighted the importance of achieving “educational equity across genders.” Little did Barkley know that the ceremony was predominantly focused on her, culminating in her being named Teacher of the Year for the district.

Mayor Bowser commended Barkley’s exceptional efforts, emphasizing how she has surpassed her teaching duties to empower students and serve as a role model. Barkley’s dedication to her students shines through in her own words, as she expressed in her application letter for the award, stating her commitment to “amplify students’ voices, raise awareness, find creative solutions to our mental health crisis and ensure equitable access for immigrant youth.”

Barkley’s journey as an educator has been marked by a profound dedication to serving immigrant students, many of whom face significant challenges upon arrival in the United States. Prior to her role at Cardozo, Barkley taught English and Spanish literacy for adults in El Salvador, making her transition to teaching immigrant students in D.C. a natural fit.

Her impact extends far beyond the classroom. Barkley has been actively involved in advocating for immigrant students’ access to mental health resources and organizing social identity workshops. She recognizes the importance of addressing the holistic needs of her students, who often come from diverse backgrounds and have experienced trauma in their home countries.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Barkley has played a pivotal role in nurturing a positive school culture and a nationally recognized program for newly arrived immigrant students at Cardozo Education Campus. Her leadership, instructional best practices and commitment to equity have earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues and administrators.

As the recipient of the 2024 D.C. Teacher of the Year award, Barkley will not only receive a $7,500 prize but also an additional $5,000 to support her professional development opportunities during her term. This recognition also positions her as a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year award, administered by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), where she will have the opportunity to further amplify the voices of marginalized students on a national stage.

Barkley’s achievement highlights the dedication and excellence of educators in D.C., who tirelessly work to make a difference in the lives of their students. Alongside Barkley, finalists Chad Harris, Kena Allison, Rabiah Harris and Aneesah Blount represent the collective commitment to educational excellence and equity in the district.

In recognizing Beth Barkley as the 2024 D.C. Teacher of the Year, the district celebrates not only her individual accomplishments but also the profound impact that dedicated educators can have on their students and communities.

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