Kelly Harper, a third grade teacher at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School in Ward 6, has been awarded the 2019 D.C. Teacher of the Year Award by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Bowser surprised Harper by giving her the award at an announcement function. The award, which comes with a cash prize of $7,500, is given every year to a D.C. public school teacher for “outstanding leadership and commitment to student achievement”. Ms. Harper will now be eligible for the National Teacher of the Year Award.
Bowser was joined at the announcement function by Acting Deputy Mayor for Education, Paul Kihn, State Superintendent of Education, Hanseul Kang, and Interim D.C. Public Schools Chancellor, Amanda Alexander.
“We are proud to have so many talented and passionate teachers educating and inspiring our students, and, today, we are excited to recognize and celebrate Ms. Harper for all she has done for her students, her school, and our community,” said Bowser. “Great teachers change lives, and we know that Ms. Harper is working hard to set her students, families, and colleagues up for success. Every day, Ms. Harper is changing lives in Washington, D.C.”
A native Washingtonian, Harper began her career in Houston, Texas. She was recognized in 2014 as a Houston finalist for the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award and was also a national nominee. Apart from teaching at Amidon-Bowen, she also conducts professional trainings for D.C. Public Schools.
“As a D.C area native, I teach to empower my students to become the next leaders and change-agents of their generation. Ultimately, I envision my students becoming voices for marginalized communities, voices that reverberate throughout the city and the world,” said Harper in her application for the teacher of the year award.
Apart from $7,500 cash prize, Harper also received an additional $1,500 for supporting her travel to national conferences and workshops during her one-year term of 2019 D.C. Teacher of the Year.