The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) announced in a press release on Thursday that Zach Beam, a science teacher at Newcastle High School, has been named Wyoming’s 2023 Teacher of the Year.

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Brian Schroeder, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, said in the release:

"Zach has the ability to bring the excitement of learning to his students with innovation and explanation," Schroeder said. "What he is doing in the area of STEM education - and what he plans to do next fall - just goes to show that he is all-in with letting his students grasp these far-reaching concepts in a way that is really, really fun and exciting."

Beam has a Bachelor of Science from Black Hills State University and before teaching he worked for the U.S. Forest Service Job Corps’ Education Department.

Beam has taught in Newcastle for the past nine years and next fall, he will be teaching a STEM Lab in Newcastle as a physical science, physics, and advanced chemistry teacher

He said in the release:

"I was honored to be named Weston #1 District Teacher of the Year, but it is above and beyond to be named Wyoming Teacher of the Year," Beam said. "It was amazing to see the student reaction to the announcement and it continues to get me excited to see them excited...We do not always know what will engage our students, but when we open up new avenues we show them that they are capable in new ways. I want the public to know that as teachers we are inspired by the ‘ah ha’ moments that our students have and we want to foster that excitement when our students 'get it' for the first time or make a connection to prior learning."

Brad LaCroix, Superintendent for the Weston School District, said in the release:

"He truly does care for all his students, and it shows by the relationship he has established with every one of his students. Zach has been a science teacher for WCSD #1 for 10 years. He is an exceptional teacher that has the art of making science fun and exciting as well as educational for the students. He is greatly respected by students and staff at Newcastle High School as well as in the community."

According to the WDE's website, the Wyoming teacher of the year gets the year off from teaching, acts as a liaison for the teaching community to the Wyoming Legislature, is available for workshops and conferences, and is automatically entered as a nominee for the national teacher of the year.

Since the national teacher of the year program began in 1952, a teacher from Wyoming has never won.

Last year's Wyoming teacher of the year, Brittney Montgomery, is a first-grade teacher at Harrison Elementary School in Green River.

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