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Mesa Public School District educator wins Arizona Teacher of the Year award

Nancy Parra-Quinlan, who teaches at Kino Junior High School in Mesa, was announced the winner on Saturday by the Arizona Educational Foundation.
Credit: Arizona Educational Foundation

PHOENIX — A teacher from the Mesa Public Schools District was named the 2022 Teacher of the Year on Saturday. 

Nancy Parra-Quinlan, a 7th and 8th grade STEM teacher at Kino Junior High School, was named the winner by the Arizona Educational Foundation. 

Parra-Quinlan has been a teacher for 27 years and has been at Kino for the past 15. Her classes aim at teaching students about robotics, engineering, aerospace and medicine. 

In 2017, Parra-Quinlan was the second runner-up for the Air Force Association's National Teacher of the Year. She was also nominated for the Frank Luke Chapter of the Air Force Association's Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year. 

She studied elementary education at Northern Arizona University before pursuing a master's in education there as well. 

Parra-Quinlan participates in numerous student outreach programs and is the director of the Mesa Public School's Aerospace Academy. She was one of 10 people in the running for this year's honor. 

She won because of her dedication to providing students with real-world skills in STEM programs. 

"Arizona is a magnet for technology companies, including aerospace, electronics and other manufacturing industries," Parra-Quinlan said. "We must sufficiently fund public education in our state in order to prepare our students to work in the industries that will be most abundant in Arizona over the next few decades.”

For her win, Parra-Quinlan will receive $15,000 from the foundation as well as meet President Joe Biden. She plans to continue outreach for girls and students of color as they are underrepresented in STEM fields. 

“Public schools in Arizona employ some of the best and most dedicated teachers in the state,” said Kim Graham, Executive Director of the Arizona Educational Foundation. “Mrs. Parra-Quinlan and the other teachers honored at the ceremony are outstanding examples of the quality of Arizona’s public school educators. I have the utmost respect and admiration for all of our teachers and the efforts they make daily to improve the lives of Arizona students.”

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