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The American Board Teacher of the Year award honors an American Board alum who exemplifies the organization’s belief that the inspiration to teach comes from a commitment to the community and the desire to make a difference.

The 2013 American Board National Teacher of the Year is Shelly Dalpiaz, an Algebra teacher at Cane Bay High School in Summerville, South Carolina. (To read the press release, click here.)


Shelley Dalpiaz (Cane Bay High School; Summerville, SC)

Shelley Delpiaz from Summerville South CarolinaShelley Dalpiaz is an Algebra teacher at Cane Bay High School in Summerville, South Carolina.

“A career-changer and former microbiologist, Shelley brings a unique, invaluable, and inspirational perspective into the classroom,” said SHAWN ARÉVALO McCOLLOUGH, President and CEO of the American Board. “She truly shows students that acquiring STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills matters and provides greater opportunities, from post-secondary education to career.” Dalpiaz worked as a microbiologist at the University of Utah before her husband’s military career moved them to South Carolina.

Beginning her career in the classroom as a volunteer, Dalpiaz saw how teachers inspire learning every day. This inspiration started even earlier in her life, said Dalpiaz: “I had a wonderful math teacher in high school who made all the difference with his smile and patience as he taught our math class. He inspired me to become that kind of a teacher, the one that loves going to his or her job each day with a smile.”

“Ms. Dalpiaz is an outstanding educator, and the Berkeley County School District is incredibly proud of her for earning this immense honor and achievement,” stated Dr. RODNEY THOMPSON, superintendent of schools. “The American Board National Teacher of the Year award reflects the simple and important truth that the most effective educators—those who make a lasting and positive impact—do not always come to our field through the traditional training and certification processes. I applaud Ms. Dalpiaz for her relentless efforts and commitment to improving the lives of her students. ”

“Shelley Dalpiaz is a fabulous teacher who is a cornerstone in our math department at Cane Bay High School,” said Dr. LEE WESTBERRY, Cane Bay’s principal. “Shelley always has a positive attitude as she works diligently to find ways to help her students learn. She makes learning fun and relevant, and students respond well to her. We love and support Shelley, as this award is much deserved!”

“I want to combine my love for math and science to help kids get away from the fact that math is boring,” said Dalpiaz. “Showing students the real life applications of math, how they use it on a daily basis, and why it is important is why I go to class each and every day.”


Edie Flores (Eckerd Youth Challenge Program; Brooksville, FL)

Edna Flores from Brooksville FloridaEdie Flores directs the educational programing for a juvenile justice facility (also teaching three classes). Over 80% of her students made average gains of 1.5 grade levels during their six to nine months in the program (far exceeding the state average). “In an effort to build positive supporting relationships with children, Edie plans lessons that engage the multiple learning styles of her student,” said nominator Keith Phillipson, “You will always find her students actively engaged in the lesson.”


Geoff Williams (Century High School; Pocatello, ID)

Jeff Williams from Pocatello IdahoGeoff Williams teaches a variety of math and science classes at Century High School including AP Physics, Honors Chemistry, and Algebra 2. The administration, including Sheryl Brockett, who nominated him has entrusted him with large projects including “working through issues with at-risk students to assure success in the classroom.”  According to Brockett, Geoff is “skilled in a variety of instructional strategies to maximize student learning and to support both the remedial learner and the advanced learner.”


Aaron Prejean (Hardy Middle School; Jackson, MS)

Aaron Prejean serves as a model of character and responsibility to his students as one of the first teachers to arrive and one of the last to leave each day  – despite being burglarized near his school. He uses technology such as interactive polls to engage his students and increased their achievement levels by over 15% in his first year. Antonius Caldwell, who nominated him, said, “Mr. Prejean’s legal education allows him to provide guidance and perspective to students in dire need of a moral compass.”


Birdie Pruessner (City Academy; St. Louis, MO)

Birdie Pruessner from Saint Louis Missouri

Birdie Pruessner, besides being an upper grades math teacher, teaches and plan curriculum for a variety of grade levels and subjects (including gardening and sustainability). “Ms. Pruessner has the ability to work with all age ranges of youth,” Kelly Tyson said in one of multiple nominating statements for Birdie, “She adapts to age appropriate educational needs with ease. Ms. Pruessner demonstrates an outstanding ability to adapt quickly to unforeseen changes.”



Sara Layton (Open High School of Utah; West Jordan, UT)

Sara Layton from West Jordan UtahSara Layton is a pioneer in the use of online secondary learning and open educational resources (OER) curriculum building. Using OERs, she has improved her student’s test scores and their enthusiasm for learning. She has presented at conferences on educational technology internationally.  According to DeLaina Tonks, who nominated her, “Sara’s unique skill set and attention to detail coupled with her love for her students positions her as one of the top 1% of teachers I have employed over the past four years.”