De Queen’s Communications Director Beau McCastlain Named 2024 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

De Queen’s Communications Director Beau McCastlain Named 2024 Arkansas Teacher of the YearBeau McCastlain, the television production teacher at De Queen High School and communications director for the De Queen School District, has been named the 2024 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, marking a significant milestone in his educational journey. McCastlain’s dedication to his students and innovative teaching methods have earned him this prestigious honor, reflecting the impact he has made within the classroom and beyond.

During the announcement ceremony, McCastlain humbly credited the collective efforts of his students and colleagues for his success. “It’s nothing you can bottle up. It’s our people. It’s what you can achieve when you come together for a common goal. Any success we have had is because we have the greatest students”, McCastlain remarked, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and shared goals in achieving excellence in education.

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders also praised McCastlain’s commitment to student success and his innovative approach to teaching. “Beau McCastlain is everything we could ask for in an Arkansas teacher: someone who puts student success first and foremost, someone who thinks outside the box to get his students excited for their future careers, and someone who leverages his expertise to create new, exciting opportunities in the classroom”, Sanders declared, highlighting McCastlain’s impact on shaping the future of education in Arkansas.

In addition to McCastlain’s recognition, the spotlight also shines on the other finalists for the 2024 Arkansas Teacher of the Year award. Kassadi Seidenschnur, a library media specialist at Hurricane Creek Elementary in the Bryant School District, Nicole Franklin, an English-language arts and social studies teacher at Orr Elementary School in Fort Smith and Jeremy Kennedy, an Advanced Placement language and composition teacher at Greenbrier High School, were acknowledged for their exceptional contributions to education, representing the diverse talents and dedication of educators across the state.

The application process for the 2024 Arkansas Teacher of the Year presented a notable departure from previous years, as it specifically integrated references to the recently introduced Arkansas LEARNS Act, championed by Governor Sanders and passed by legislators. LEARNS stands for literacy, empowerment, accountability, readiness, networking and safety. Applicants were asked to anticipate LEARNS’ positive impact on students and relate their proposed platform to the law if selected as Teacher of the Year. Provisions in the law, include raising the base teacher salary, creating the Educational Freedom Account system and implementing literacy-focused programs.

As McCastlain embarks on his journey as the 2024 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, he will advocate for educational reforms and initiatives that empower both teachers and students. With the support of leaders like Governor Sanders and the collective efforts of educators across the state, McCastlain’s tenure promises to be a transformative one, shaping the future of education in Arkansas for generations to come.

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