HERSHEY, Pa. -- North Hills Middle School eighth grade social studies teacher Joe Welch has been named the 2020 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year.
Welch was announced as the winner following a luncheon at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019.
The Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year Program, co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania chapter of the National State Teacher of the Year, recognizes teaching excellence by honoring K-12 teachers in public education who have made outstanding academic contributions.
“We’re thrilled to have the Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year working alongside our students,” said North Hills School District Superintendent Dr. Patrick J. Mannarino. “This is an amazing accomplishment for Joe and we thank him for representing our district with pride and for all he does for our students.”
“Joe Welch is a dynamic educator and model for everyone in our school and in our district,” said North Hills Middle School Principal David Lieberman. “We’re honored to have him as one of our faculty members."
“This is an experience that leaves me speechless and that is the opposite of my personality,” said Welch during his acceptance speech.
There are 12 Teacher of the Year finalists nominated annually by local education agencies. This year’s nominees hailed from every corner of the commonwealth and included elementary, middle and high school educators in English, the sciences and art. The finalists participated in interviews and submitted a video of them teaching as part of the selection process.
Last month, Welch was named the American Middle Level Association’s Educator of the Year and in October, he received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania Council for the Social Studies.
He was also the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s National History Teacher of the Year in 2018 and the PBS Digital Innovator for Pennsylvania in 2016.
As Pennsylvania’s Teacher of the Year, Welch will serve as an advocate at the state level for all of Pennsylvania’s public education teachers. He will present as the keynote speaker at various conferences and events, and facilitate workshops and professional development sessions. He will also represent Pennsylvania at the National Teacher of the Year ceremony at the White House.
Welch is the third North Hills teacher to be named Pennsylvania’s Teacher of the Year. Lois Rebich, an instructional support teacher at Ross Elementary School, was Pennsylvania’s Teacher of the Year in 2007 and Fred Del Monte was Pennsylvania’s Teacher of the Year in 1979 while he was working as director of bands and orchestras at the North Hills Jr. High School.