The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced Carolyn Kielma, the 2023 Connecticut Teacher of the Year, as one of five finalists for the 2023 National Teacher of the Year. Kielma, a 9th to 12th grade science teacher fifth-grade at Bristol Eastern High School, has taught for the last 15 years.
“I am honored and humbled to be named a finalist for the National Teacher of the Year,” said Kielma. “Teaching has been my life’s work, and I am grateful for the opportunity to represent Connecticut and the teaching profession on a national stage. I am looking forward to the experience and the opportunity to connect with and learn from other exceptional teachers from around the country.”
The 2023 Connecticut Teacher of the Year has been praised by her colleagues for her ability to build strong relationships with her students and make learning engaging and relevant to their lives. She is known for her creative and innovative teaching style, which incorporates technology, real-world connections, and social-emotional learning into her lessons.
“Carolyn Kielma is an exceptional educator who has dedicated her career to helping her students achieve their full potential,” said Connecticut Commissioner of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker. “Her passion for teaching, innovative teaching methods, and unwavering commitment to her students have made her an invaluable member of the education community in Connecticut and beyond.”
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont also commended Kielma’s dedication to her students. “On behalf of the state of Connecticut, I want to extend my congratulations to Carolyn Kielma on being named a finalist for the National Teacher of the Year,” said Governor Ned Lamont. “Carolyn’s commitment to excellence in the classroom and dedication to her students exemplify the best of what our state has to offer. She is a true leader in her profession and an inspiration to her colleagues.”
Kielma also serves as a mentor teacher, sharing her knowledge and expertise with colleagues both in her school and across the state. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Southern Connecticut State University and her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut.
CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year Program celebrates and recognizes exceptional teachers across the country, their work in and outside the classroom, and empowers them to take part in policy discussions at the state and national level. As a finalist, Carolyn Kielma will attend a series of national events and engagements, culminating in a ceremony in Washington D.C. where the National Teacher of the Year will be announced.