Sahuarita Times: SPS Teacher a Top 5 Finalist for Arizona Teacher of the Year

Ms. Dayna Burke, 1st grade teacher at Sahuarita Primary School, was recently honored as one of the five “Ambassador for Excellence” finalists up for the prestigious Arizona Teacher of the Year Award. The honor, which is awarded each year by the Arizona Education Foundation, recognizes the contributions of outstanding public school teachers throughout Arizona.

Following the example of three generations of teachers in her own family, Burke found a love of teaching from the very start. Since joining the team at Sahuarita Primary School in 2008, she has committed herself to working hard and instilling a love of learning in each of her young students. Having received honors previously at her own campus, such as Teacher of the Month and later Sahuarita Primary’s Teacher of the Year, the chance to be honored on a state level is a natural progression.

On Thursday, November 14th, Ms. Burke joined the other four finalists, including a teacher for the Flowing Wells School District in Tucson, and three teachers from Phoenix, at the Teacher of the Year Awards Luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.

The ceremony, which included a luncheon, speakers, and a special presentation which highlighted the accomplishments of each of the finalists, featured key leaders in the field of education as well as local politicians from around the state. Other important members of the Sahuarita Unified School District, including fellow teaching staff, the principal Sahuarita Primary School, school board members, and Superintendent Dr. Manny Valenzuela, also attended the event. She was also supported by the attendance of her mother and husband.

Though she did not receive the award, Ms. Burke is a shining example of educational excellence and leadership that Sahuarita can truly be proud of. Dr. Valenzuela commented on Ms. Burke and her many achievements saying, “Dayna Burke is a true ambassador for the teaching profession and our community. She represents the highest professional standards, dedication, and authentic commitment to serving the best interests of her students. We can all share in the pride of her tremendous accomplishment in being named an Arizona Ambassador for Excellence.”