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Northwood Elementary Teacher Wins 2021-2022 Alaska Teacher of the Year

teacher receives award

Commissioner Michael Johnson presents Kelly Shrein with a plaque commemorating her designation of 2021-2022 Alaska Teacher of the Year at Northwood Elementary, May 5, 2021. (Louis Velasco/ASD)


Northwood Elementary teacher Kelly Shrein was named 2021-2022 Alaska Teacher of the Year during a small ceremony at Northwood Elementary on May 5, 2021. Shrein has taught at the school for three years and has been an ASD teacher since 2013.

ASD Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop, Alaska Department of Education and Early Development leadership, school staff, and all her students attended the surprise announcement.

DEED Commissioner Dr. Michael Johnson presented the award to Schein and spoke about the challenges she overcame during the school year that garnered the state’s highest achievement for teachers.

“Kelly’s work to reach out to, support, and encourage her students throughout the pandemic shows tremendous creativity and care – not just for who the students are today, but for the adults and leaders they will become in the future,” he said.

Shrein shared what a surprise it was to be awarded among all the hardworking and dedicated teachers in the state. “So many teachers go above and beyond for their students. This was such a surprise. I feel so honored. To represent all the teachers of Alaska with this award is so humbling,” she said.

Bishop also seized the opportunity to educate the room full of captive students about Shrein’s success. Bishop held a sheet of a paper with a number on it – 7,500. “Do you all see this number? This is the number of teachers in Alaska, and your teacher was chosen as the best! Isn’t that amazing?” said Bishop. Shrein’s class erupted with cheer.

Dr. Bishop

Anchorage School District superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop speaks to Kelly Shrein's class at Northwood Elementary after she is named 2021-2022 Alaska Teacher of the year at Northwood Elementary, May 5, 2021. (Louis Velasco/ASD)


Northwood principal Deanna Beck commended Shrein for the constant focus and dedication to her class during the shutdown after spring break in 2020. “After the closure announcement, she was going door-to-door, driving by homes waving, holding a sign…just whatever she could to let her students know they were missed.”

Because the 2020 school closure came before the end of the official school year, Shrein requested to move from fourth to fifth grade, allowing her to continue teaching the same students. “I feel like this award is an extraordinary thing for my students. We truly are a family. I couldn’t have done it without them,” she said.

As Alaska Teacher of the Year, Shrein will have a seat on Commissioner Johnson’s Teacher and Educator Advisory Council. She will also be Alaska’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year.