Thursday, November 10, 2011


Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna announced Thursday that a Coeur d’Alene teacher has been honored as the 2012 Idaho Teacher of the Year.

Erin Lenz, a classroom teacher at Winton Elementary School in Coeur d’Alene, was named the 2012 Idaho Teacher of the Year in a surprise announcement at her school Thursday afternoon. Lenz has taught for 10 years. As Idaho Teacher of the Year, she will receive $1,000 from the Idaho State Department of Education, $16,000 in technology from the SMARTer Kids Foundation, and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to represent Idaho as a nominee for the National Teacher of the Year.

“Erin Lenz is a great example of the high-quality teachers we have across Idaho. She was selected as Idaho’s Teacher of the Year for her passion, vision, and continued commitment to make sure every child learns and succeeds,” Superintendent Luna said. “By focusing on every student, analyzing assessment data, and getting parents more involved, Lenz has consistently raised student achievement in her classroom and school.”

In accepting the award, Lenz said, “I am so humbled.” She said she could not have earned this recognition without the great teachers, librarians, office staff, custodians, and other school staff at Winton Elementary. “We have a great school.”

“I can think of no one better able to represent Idaho teachers than Erin Lenz. She embodies what all parents would want for their child’s teacher,” said Kristin Gorringe, principal of Winton Elementary School. “Teaching is not what Erin does but rather who she is. Her commitment, modeling, skills, and ability to relate to people, both old and young, raises the capacity and performance of all who are lucky enough to work with her. I consider myself blessed to be one of those people.”

The Idaho Teacher of the Year program began in 1959 and has become one of the most prestigious honors in the state for teachers. The program focuses public attention on excellence in teaching that has a real impact on the students of Idaho. Every year, school districts and charter schools across Idaho have the opportunity to nominate one teacher for the Idaho Teacher of the Year. A state selection committee representing teachers, education leaders, parents and legislators from across the state choose the Idaho Teacher of the Year from among the nominations.

To learn more about the Idaho Teacher of the Year program, visit

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