There is no shortage of excellent teachers in School District 49, and Vista Ridge High School can claim one of its own as a statewide standout: The Colorado Department of Education selected Theresa James as a finalist for Colorado Teacher of the Year.
The 16-year educator and native Coloradan holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, specializing in the subjects of Honors Civics, World History and Sociology at VRHS. James is honored to be among a short list of finalists who the CDE describes as exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled K-12 classroom teachers who represent the entire profession in the state.
"I tell people that I want to be good at [teaching], but I’ll never say I’m great at it. So to be honored, to be even a finalist and be considered to be a good teacher in the state of Colorado when there’s so many amazing teachers in the state, it’s a humbling spot to be in for me."
James is the latest D49 teacher to reach the CDE’s Teacher of the Year finalist category, an annual achievement our schools have maintained for six consecutive years.
"I have colleagues that are amazing to work with and that push me to be better, and push me to do better for my kids,” James said. “I think District 49 cultivates that with the staff they are hiring—having other teachers surrounding you that want you to be better and push you as hard as they can to be better."
Her drive to achieve as a teacher springs from an early ambition. “When I was a kid I always said, ‘I don’t know what I want to do other than make a difference,’” she said. As a teacher, James found that opportunity.
“Every day I get to step in front of young people, and learn from them and get a chance to teach them,” she explained, adding, “The level of excitement, enthusiasm and humor they have; nothing matches being in a classroom with kids.”
Congratulations, Theresa! We wish you all the best in the next phase of selection for Colorado Teacher of the Year. The CDE will announce the winning teacher by the end of October who will automatically become Colorado's nominee for the National Teacher of the Year competition.