PHOENIX - Josh Meibos’ passion for teaching has earned him a high honor. The physical education teacher at David Crockett Elementary in Phoenix was named the 2018 Arizona Teacher of the Year by the Arizona Educational Foundation at a luncheon held at the Arizona Grand Resort Tuesday.

Meibos’ philosophy on teaching is more than just educating. It’s about getting to know his students and where they are coming from.

“You know, I think there has to be a passion behind it. I think you need to have heart behind what we do," Meibos said. "I think you need to know your students. You need to know your content. You need to know your demographics, your families, and for me it's all about the little guys."

That's no easy task at David Crockett Elementary, where there are 20 different languages represented. Many of his students come from low-income households and many have refugee status.

Meibos will be speaking to different groups and advocating for teachers and education as part of his duties as Teacher of the Year in 2018.

“Teachers don’t do it alone and it takes a village. I feel lucky to be among cohort of teachers and organizations that I met throughout my career. I don’t think I would be here without them," Meibos said. "I feel like with their influence and support, together we’ll be able to advocate for not only public education in Arizona but for physical education, as well."

Meibos is a positive teacher. He could be seen encouraging his students and giving high fives in a video shown at the Teacher of the Year luncheon.

In a time when education seems to be under attack as a political "hot potato," many teachers have left Arizona for better pay and in some cases respect. But Meibos remains optimistic.

“Somebody did it for me and it got me to where I am today," he said. "I feel like if I can give back and keep that goal in mind for the kids. Stay positive. Same lessons I try to teach my students. We’ll make some growth. We’ll make some progress in the state and I’m excited."

The other nominees for the award were:

Amy Ball – Madison Traditional Academy, Phoenix

Allison Davis – Knox Gifted Academy, Chandler

Erica Davis – Basha High School, Chandler

Justean Palmer – Canyon Ridge School, Surprise