IMS teacher Mr. Turka among Teachers of the Year

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Jason Turka

Mr. Turka poses with other Teacher of the Year finalists.

Nick Howrylak, Staff Writer

IMS math teacher Mr. Jason Turka was recently named a Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year finalist. He was selected as one of only 12 finalists for the award.

The award is given to a teacher who shows leadership and commitment in the classroom and community.

Every year, the National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education identify distinguished teachers throughout the state from levels K-12.

Once selected, nominees must respond to written prompts and obtain references from a parent, teacher, and administrator.  Then, the selected semifinalists complete a formal interview with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  Finally, the 12 finalists submit videos of them teaching, a video of them articulating a vision of education, and a video sharing what makes their school district great.

When asked what the nomination means to him, Mr. Turka humbly responded, “Teaching is a collaborative effort.  Teachers hope that students enjoy aspects of each of our classes.  We hope that students find value in what they are learning in a variety of disciplines.”

“The twelve finalists met regularly throughout the spring and summer.  Performing the duties of PA Teacher of the Year is a big commitment.  It involves a lot of travel and speaking engagements.  The twelve of us support each other and believe that any of us would do a great job representing the teaching profession,” Mr. Turka said.

Although the award was won by Ryan Hardesty of Blackhawk School District, Mr. Turka still hopes to improve as a teacher and as a parent.

“As a teacher, one is either growing or declining.  I am working on some items that can enhance the educational product I provide to students here at BP,” he said. “I have signed on to speak at several conferences in 2023.  My schedule has always been full with my children’s activities.  They are getting older now and I will turn over some responsibilities and become more involved in other activities.”