Marlene Armstrong, a teacher at both Payson High School and Rim Country Middle School, won her second teaching award this year.
The Arizona Rural Schools Association (ARSA) awarded Armstrong the Gila County Rural Teacher of the Year award.
Earlier this year, Armstrong won the Gila County Teacher of the Year award from Gila Superintendent of Schools Linda O’Dell’s office.
The ARSA organization lobbies on behalf of rural schools to local and state public officials. Each year the organization awards County Teachers of the Year and an Arizona Teacher of the Year award recognizing excellence.
“I was nominated by the Gila County Education Service Agency (O’Dell’s office),” said Armstrong.
She said she had to go through a long application process, which included her biography, philosophy on education, community involvement, as well as letters of reference from co-workers, parents, and school administrators.
She was one of four finalists from school districts around Gila County.
“I was stunned!” said Armstrong. “Actually Kristi (Kisler) and I were in the car heading to lunch when I received the call, and my first thought was that I must have misheard him. There are so many fantastic teachers!”
She said she is now in the running for Arizona Rural Teacher of the Year. The winner will be announced on Sept. 22 at the Rural Schools Conference in Flagstaff.
Kisler, who works with Armstrong at the middle school said, “Marlene is such an amazing teacher. Every minute of every day she is looking forward to what can make the next lesson the best experience her students can have in the classroom.
“No one deserves this honor more. I am so excited for her.”