Northern Gila County educators, their families and friends packed the meeting room at the county offices on East Highway 260 in Payson June 18 to hear who would be named 2019 County Teacher of the Year.
The top honor went to Dean Pederson of Pine-Strawberry School, but Gila County School Superintendent Roy Sandoval paid tribute to all 24 educators nominated and presented certificates acknowledging the recognition given them by those who put their names forward.
While 24 educators were nominated, Sandoval said it was disappointing that only two principals submitted recommendations to honor their teachers.
Payson High School had 15 members of its faculty nominated: Roger Childers, George Conley, Bud Evans, Andrew Fiala (2017 Gila County Teacher of the Year winner), Marsha Fitzhugh, Chad Gower, Mark Guthrie, Brittney Hancock, Kyle Headstream, Halli Kinnick, Ginger Liddell, Cynthia Mitchell, Renae Short, Laura Trivillan and Denver White.
Scott Davidson of Rim Country Middle School and Rachel Oakseon of Payson Christian School were also nominated.
Other northern Gila County educators considered for the honor were Barbara Warren of Tonto Basin and Jennifer Hunt of Young.
Teachers nominated from southern Gila County were Ivy Asuncion, San Carlos Unified School District; Marsha Goseyun, Rice Elementary; Lola Monsees, Charles Bejarano Elementary; and Sreevelmurugan Vamadevan, Miami Unified School District.