LITTLE ROCK — An English language arts teacher at Palestine-Wheatley High School in St. Francis County was named the 2014 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Monday by Gov. Mike Beebe during an assembly at the school.
Beebe presented Jonathan Crossley a $14,000 award from the Walton Family Foundation. Crossley had received a $1,000 award when he was named one of the 16 regional finalists.
In addition, SMART Technologies of Canada honored Crossley with the 2014 Teaching Excellence Award, which includes more than $7,200 in technology products and services for the classroom, as well as a full day of group technology training at the 2014 U.S. National Teacher of the Year Conference in January.
Arkansas law provides for the Arkansas Teacher of the Year to take a year of paid administrative leave for professional development purposes and to serve in an advisory position as a non-voting member of the state Board of Education.
Crossley teaches 11th- and 12th-grade English and oral communication, and serves as drama director. He is also the literacy coach for grades six through 12. He has been a teacher for four years and also served for three years as the girls basketball coach for grades seven through 12.
Crossley graduated magna cum laude in 2010 with a bachelor of arts degree from the University of South Carolina at Columbia. He is currently working on a master of education degree from Arkansas Tech University at Russellville, where he has been named a Walton Leader Scholar and a Lead 21 Scholar.
He is a member of the College Initiative, Teach for America Community for Struggling Readers and Teach for America Community of English Language Arts.
Crossley is a lead teacher for Teacher Publisher, an online resource community.