Fruita teacher among finalists for state award

A kindergarten teacher who works at a Fruita elementary school is among the latest finalists for the Colorado Teacher of the Year award.

Richard Green is one of seven finalists in the annual awards program conducted by the Colorado Department of Education.

“These seven teachers serve as inspiring examples among the thousands of teachers across the state who every day go above and beyond to teach our children,” said Katy Anthes, Colorado education commissioner. “These finalists are dedicated, innovative and pushing our students to new heights. Any one of them would make an excellent Colorado Teacher of the Year.”

The Colorado Teacher of the Year program recognizes a classroom teacher to represent the profession in Colorado. The sole finalist goes on to become the state nominee for the National Teacher of the Year competition. The National Teacher of the Year Program is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers. The sole finalist will be announced Nov. 1.

Green, a kindergarten teacher at Shelledy Elementary School, has worked in education for 39 years, most of that time teaching kindergarten.

He’s an active member in Mesa County School District 51 who’s twice served twice on legislative committees examining full-day kindergarten and helped form a state kindergarten association. He’s long advocated for funding for full-day kindergarten in Colorado and now is working on efforts to make kindergarten developmentally appropriate.

Green works with children in many different roles, including volunteering as a community Santa Claus since 1993.