Congratulations Melissa Truelove, Teacher Excellence Award winner!

Melissa Truelove

The entire student body and staff of Tucson Hebrew Academy came out to help us surprise Melissa Truelove, 3rd Grade teacher, with our OfficeMax/OfficeDepot and TVT Teacher Excellence Award. What a moment!

Melissa was nominated by fellow teacher Robin Garcia, who says, “Mrs. Truelove is an amazing teacher! She always goes above and beyond for all her students. She is always attending workshops and classes to give her students the very best education possible. Every year she takes the lead in hand-delivering all of lower schools science fair projects to SARSEF and every year she has groups of third graders who win! She instills a love of science and math into all her students. She is a dedicated teacher who deserves this award!”

Kudos to you, Melissa! Keep up the excellent work, we truly appreciate all that you do for students and our community! #AZTeachersRock #thankateacher
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Stand Up 4 Teachers

An Evening to Celebrate Education Champions

Join us on April 6 as we Stand Up 4 Teachers and honor Cox Communications, T. R. Brown Foundations, and three exceptional Pima County teachers.
April 6, 5:30pm to 7:00pm, The Westin La Paloma

Reserve your tickets and sponsorship today!

For more information on this event click here.


What's New

Raytheon honors three Pima County teachers with 2017 Leaders in Education Award

Raytheon Leaders in Education Award 2017 honorees: (left to right) back row: Jessica Howell, Andrew Lettes, Brie Anna Barber, Steven Uyeda, and Mary Garcia; front row: Sandra Schiffman, Lauren Marlatt, Kristina Laborin, and Elyse Adams.

The Raytheon Leaders in Education Award honorees will be celebrated at the Tucson Values Teachers Stand Up 4 Teachers event on April 6th.

Three local teachers received the second annual Raytheon Leaders in Education Awards for their exceptional teaching skills and demonstrated commitment to improving education outside of their classrooms.

Raytheon established the award to recognize and reward Pima County teachers in grades K-12 who are achieving outstanding classroom performance, demonstrating leadership in their schools and communities, and supporting their peers in a committed teacher workforce.

The three award recipients were selected from among nine finalists through a rigorous evaluation process that considered more than 50 individual applications by area teachers. Raytheon will present each winning teacher with $2,500. The company will also give $2,500 to the winners' respective schools. During the next 12 months, the teachers will meet with business and political leaders to share classroom success stories and find common ground in advocating for advancements in education.

 "These winners and finalists demonstrated remarkable dedication to students and families, fellow educators and entire communities," said Jon Kasle, vice president, Raytheon Missile Systems Communications. "Our business, and all other area employers, benefit greatly from a talented and strongly committed teacher workforce that is supported by the entire community."

"Recognizing exceptional educators for the leadership, professionalism, dedication and passion that they bring to their classrooms and students every day is at the heart of Tucson Values Teachers' mission," said Katie Rogerson, Chief Operating Officer, Tucson Values Teachers.

The teachers will receive their awards during the Stand Up 4 Teachers celebration, Thursday, April 6, 2017, 5:30-7PM, at The Westin La Paloma. Tickets and other details are available at . Event proceeds benefit Tucson Values Teachers. 

2017 Raytheon Leaders in Education Award winners:

Jessica Howell, 5th Grade Teacher.Hendricks Elementary, Flowing Wells Unified School District. Jessica has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona and Master's Degree in Education from Northern Arizona University. She is a member of the National, Arizona, and Flowing Wells Education Associations and currently serves as 2nd Vice President of Delta Kappa Gamma, where she supports new teachers and organizations such as Miracle Square and World Fellowship Fund.

Lauren Marlatt, 6th-8th Grade Teacher, Coronado K-8, Amphitheater Public Schools. Lauren has a Bachelor's of Science, Family Studies and Human Development, as well as a Master's in Education, from the University of Arizona. She is a member of the National Science Teacher Association, and has served as department chair for middle school science for 8 years.

Steven Uyeda, Sunnyside High School, Sunnyside Unified School District. Steven has a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences from University of California, Berkeley and a Master's in Education from the University of Arizona. He is a member of both the National and Arizona Science Teachers Associations. In 2016, he was awarded the STAR Master Teacher of the Year for Sunnyside High school.

RLEA Award finalists:

  • Brie Anna Barber, Walter Douglas Elementary, Flowing Wells Unified School District
  • Sandra Schiffman, Helen Keeling Elementary, Amphitheater Public Schools
  • Mary Garcia, Corona Foothills Middle School, Vail Unified School District
  • Kristina Laborin, Old Vail Middle School, Vail Unified School District
  • Elyse Adams, Flowing Wells High School, Flowing Wells Unified School District
  • Andrew Lettes, Pueblo High School, Tucson Unified School District 

Tucson Values Teachers Elects New CEO, COO

New roles align TVT leadership with business partners; continues commitment to attract, retain and support Southern Arizona teachers to impact economic health of the region

The board of directors of Tucson Values Teachers has elected Tucson business leader and its founding board chair, Colleen Niccum, as its new Chief Executive Officer and Katie Rogerson, TVT’s interim executive director, as Chief Operating Officer.

“These new roles align TVT leadership with its key business partners and funders and reflects the level of importance we place on working together to improve education by ensuring quality teachers for every Southern Arizona classroom,” said Marian Salzman, TVT’s outgoing executive chair who will continue as a board member and chair of its Development Committee. During her two-year volunteer tenure, Salzman instituted the first statewide teacher satisfaction survey and shared the results at a high profile community forum called Let’s Talk Ed: Teacher Workforce that drew national, state and local business, education and community leaders.  She also brought innovative changes to TVT programs, including a large-scale cash card giveaway that  delivered $238,000 worth of supplies to help teachers fund classroom expenses.

“TVT has been instrumental in shining the light on the teacher workforce crisis faced by the state while providing tangible benefits to support teachers working in Southern Arizona classrooms,” Niccum said. “We are pleased to see that the issues impacting teachers have been elevated to a top priority by the Governor, the Arizona Department of Education and key education and business groups across the state, and look forward to helping lead efforts to drive statewide improvements.”

Niccum previously served as Vice President of Education Policy for the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, which established TVT, where she was responsible for supporting the education agenda of SALC’s 140 CEOs and business leaders who recognize the critical role education plays in the economic prosperity of a community. Prior to joining SALC, she retired from Raytheon Company following a 30-year career as a communications executive. Niccum was the founding board chair of TVT and was instrumental in working with the UA College of Education to create Teachers in Industry, one of TVT’s signature programs. She also serves on the board of directors of Expect More Arizona and the UA College of Education advisory board.

Katie Rogerson has served as TVT’s interim executive director, as well as director of marketing and outreach, and as COO will manage operations and lead TVT’s signature programs and initiatives. Rogerson brings 16 years of nonprofit management expertise to her role, and serves on numerous education committees, including the UA College of Education’s Professional Preparation Board and the Arizona Department of Education’s Educator Retention Task Force. Rogerson has held positions with local education nonprofits Arts Integration Solutions and the Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) Foundation in TUSD, and is the former president and long-time board member of KXCI Community Radio. Rogerson is a 2014 “40 Under 40” honoree and a member of the Greater Tucson Leadership Class of 2017.

“We look forward to expanding our work and impact in ways that aid districts and schools in attracting and retaining teachers, while supporting efforts to address teacher pay and other issues that impact teacher turnover rates,” Rogerson said.

Findings from TVT’s 2014 teacher survey point to a number of critical factors that are fueling Arizona’s teacher crisis. Teachers in Arizona are among the lowest paid in the nation, with those in Tucson earning up to 32 percent less than the national median. Less than half reported satisfaction with their teaching career, and only one in five would recommend teaching as a career. Turnover rates continue to be high with more than 50 percent leaving the field in the first five years. This year, Arizona schools reported more than 2,000 vacant teaching positions at the start of the school year.*

Ron Shoopman, CEO of SALC, founding TVT board member and member of the Arizona Board of Regents said, “We credit the work of TVT for today’s heightened awareness of the challenges faced by Arizona’s teachers and will continue working to ensure that our state becomes a magnet for the best teachers in the nation. SALC remains committed to the success of TVT in this endeavor.”

Teachers in Industry Program Gives Teachers Hands-On Experience In STEM Fields

Teachers in Industry program accepting Summer 2017 applications now through January 15th.

The University of Arizona College of Education’s Department of Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies is now accepting applications for the summer of 2016 for its Teachers in Industry program, and 50 teachers are expected to be accepted to participate. Teachers in Industry is an innovative, award-winning professional development and degree program for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers; it was created as a result of a business education partnership inspired by Tucson Values Teachers. Participants complete coursework at the University of Arizona and spend their summers working for pay at Arizona businesses in STEM fields, giving them a substantial income boost for the years they are in the program, as well as rich hands-on job experience. Teachers can choose to work for professional development credit or to earn a master of arts degree in science or math education. Teachers in Industry is the only program of its kind in the United States and was recently honored by Change the Equation.

“Teachers in Industry has enabled dozens of Arizona teachers to practice their science and mathematics disciplines in business settings around Arizona,” College of Education Dean Ronald W. Marx explained. “They bring what they learn from these businesses back to their classrooms, helping their students learn how abstract concepts in the school curriculum actually operate in real-life settings.”

Teachers earn $8,000 on average each summer through the program. Master’s program teachers pay 35 percent of the tuition costs ($2,600 per year) from that pay. Professional development teachers pay all of their tuition costs ($1,340 per year) from that pay. Leading employers in the region hire and pay the teachers directly and then provide training and supervision during the summer.

The program was created through a partnership between the university, Tucson Values Teachers, the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, and Tucson-area STEM businesses and industries, most notably Raytheon Missile Systems, a founding employer that hired 10 teachers in the summer of 2015. Other industry partners include the Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation, Tucson Electric Power, the Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service and Texas Instruments.

“Teachers in Industry is a unique opportunity for businesses to invest in their future workforce,” said Colleen Niccum, a Tucson Values Teachers board member and a retired Raytheon executive who helped to create the program. “After their experience working in the field, these teachers can help their students make critical connections between what they are learning in school and their future careers. The return for businesses is significant when you consider that most middle and high school teachers influence 150 students each year.”

Teachers in Industry is one of the most effective teacher retention programs in Arizona, a state that faces a huge retention problem, losing over 40 percent of new teachers by the end of their second year. In contrast, more than 90 percent of the teachers who have participated in Teachers in Industry have remained in the profession. STEM businesses and industries are concerned about Arizona’s future workforce and also about the quality of education in general, because their employees send their children to Arizona schools.

For more information on Teachers In Industry, or to apply for 2017, CLICK HERE.


Tucson Values Teachers' Statewide Teacher Survey sheds light on teacher wages and perception.

Many Arizona teachers don't feel valued, respected or trusted enough by the general public, all likely reasons contributing to Arizona's teacher shortage, according to a new statewide study released by Tucson Values Teachers (TVT), sponsored by the University of Arizona College of Education and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council. The lack of professional public value is compounded by the reality that Arizona has some of the lowest teacher salaries in the United States.

The report examined five major areas of concern to teachers — value, respect, trust, time and money — and found that teachers believe the public has a different perception of teaching than what is the reality.

TVT surveyed more than 55,000 Arizona public and charter school teachers statewide and tallied 6,163 online responses. The questionnaire asked how teachers view their profession, the amount of time they spend at their work, how they relate to neighbors and the parents of their students, and other issues.

TVT ran a corresponding online survey of southern Arizona residents to provide a comparison between teachers' opinions about how the community views them and how residents actually view teachers. A total of 444 residents responded, giving details about their perceptions of teachers, as well as their evaluation of southern Arizona schools (for those with school-age children). Both surveys were conducted for TVT by Strongpoint Marketing.

In terms of value, teachers said they don't expect to get rich teaching, yet want to be fairly paid. Teachers want to be paid equal to what other similarly educated and experienced professionals earn. AZ MAP Dashboard shows that the national median annual wage for secondary school teachers in 2014 was $56,310, while it was $9,000 a year less in Phoenix ($47,230) and $18,000 a year less in Tucson ($38,240).

Likewise, the study showed Arizona teachers don't feel respected, often facing negative comments from lawmakers, politicians, students and the community. In comparison, southern Arizonans’ response to the resident survey indicates residents think more highly of teachers than teachers themselves by a fair margin. Teachers consider themselves responsible professionals, but feel they are not trusted to get on with the job, the study shows. Teachers complained about rule changes concerning what they can and can't do, and what they must and must not do. They also cite micromanagement by school higher-ups as increasing that level of distrust.

When given a list of 30 occupations, teachers rank themselves below 19 of them and only above two on the perceived value of their jobs. On the other hand, community members rank teachers below just nine pf those jobs and above seven of the 30 listed. Community members believe teachers deserve more respect than teachers give themselves.

Arizona teachers responding to the TVT survey indicated they don't have a lot of free time at their disposal to compensate for the sacrifices they have to make to do their jobs.

They cite a working week of more than 60 hours, of which 40 percent is spent teaching in class. Counseling and instructing individual students, preparing lessons, grading student work, supervising students in break time and extracurricular activities, and meetings with parents and school administrators take up the balance of their weekly on-duty hours.

Money is an issue for teachers in Arizona. Some 92 percent of the survey respondents thought low pay was an important reason why teachers are leaving the profession. And because school budgets are squeezed, nearly all of those surveyed incurred unreimbursed expenses to provide for their students.

To address these concerns TVT, Southern Arizona Leadership Council and Raytheon will sponsor Let’s Talk Ed, a K-12 Teacher Workforce Summit on January 7, 2016 to promote dialogue, discussion, fact-finding and solutions to educational issues facing southern Arizona.

Let’s Talk Ed will run from 8 to 11 am in the Tucson Convention Center Grand Ballroom, featuring national and state speakers, including Richard Ingersoll, professor at the University of Pennsylvania; Jennifer Johnson, Ph.D., executive director of Support Our Schools AZ and creator of the Arizona Teacher Retention and Recruitment Taskforce; and Lee Woodruff, New York Times best seller, CBS news contributor and founder of the Bob Woodruff Foundation helping heroes on the homefront.

TVT expects approximately 800 guests to attend, including more than 175 educators, mostly from southern Arizona.

At Let’s Talk Ed, Raytheon will present its Leaders in Education Awards of $2,500 each to three teachers, and $2,500 to each of those teachers' schools to honor their educational leadership and support for a committed teacher workforce.

The key findings of the two studies and an executive summary are available here:

TVT Statewide Teacher Survey: Executive Summary

TVT Statewide Teacher Survey: Overview Presentation