Four teachers named 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year State Semi-Finalists


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News Release) — Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key announced today the four teachers named 2020 Arkansas Teacher of the Year State Semi-Finalists. The semi-finalists were selected among 15 regional finalists and were recognized at an event today at the Governor’s Mansion.

“With so many outstanding educators, it can be difficult to pick just four for this honor,” Key said. “Each of these teachers exhibits excellence both in and out of the classroom. I congratulate each for their passion for teaching and their efforts to ensure all students achieve their best.”

State Semi-Finalists

Catherine Beckham

  • Grades 10-12 Orientation to Teaching I and II and Senior Internships
  • Mountain Home High School Career Academies
  • Mountain Home School District
  • Northcentral Education Service Cooperative

Joel Lookadoo

  • Grade 9 Algebra 1
  • Lakeside Junior High School
  • Springdale School District
  • Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Melissa Spence

  • Grade 1
  • Theodore Jones Elementary School
  • Conway School District
  • Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative

Jeffrey Whitlow

  • Grade 5
  • Don R. Roberts Elementary School
  • Little Rock School District
  • Pulaski County

Each semi-finalist received a certificate, medallion, and a $1,000 award at today’s ceremony. The ATOY Selection Committee will conduct site visits, to include classroom observations and interviews, over the next several weeks. The 2020 ATOY will be announced this fall.

To learn more about the ATOY program, visit

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