The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development has named Danielle Riha, Middle School Teacher at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School (ANCCS), the 2019 Alaska Teacher of the Year.
In an assembly Monday afternoon, Bob Williams, Director of Educator and School Excellence, presented the award to a surprised Riha in front of students and staff.
“I was surprised. I had no idea,” said Riha. “It’s exciting and I am real excited for my school. It is an amazing school.”
Riha has been at the ANCCS for 11 years, before that she spent seven years as an educator in Togiak and New Stuyahok for the Southwest Region School District. In 2008, she came to Anchorage to help develop and open ANCCS. At ANCCS she currently teaches seventh and eighth grade language arts, social studies, science, and math.
Riha holds a Bachelors of Education from the University of Alaska Anchorage, a Masters of Education from Grand Canyon University, and is working on her Doctorate of Education at Cappella University.
ANCCS Principal, Sheila Sweetsir, expressed how proud she is to have Riha receive the award. “We are very proud of the things she does here at the school. She teaches kids about character. She is part of the leadership team. She does amazing things for our school. We are very blessed.”
Riha said she was completely taken by surprise. She said there are some amazing teachers in Alaska and some amazing teachers that were nominated so to receive the award is an honor.
She also expressed that this award was not hers alone. She said it is because of her fantastic students and wonderful colleagues that she is able to do what she does.
“When I walk into this school it is a family,” said Riha. “Everyone here is a part of this.”