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Connecticut's 2023 Teacher of the Year finalist for national award

Carolyn Kielma is a science teacher from Bristol Eastern High School who was recently named Connecticut's 2023 Teacher of the Year this past fall.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Editor's Note: The video above aired in October 2022.

Connecticut's 2023 Teacher of the Year has been named as one of five finalists being considered to be the National Teacher of the Year, the governor announced on Wednesday.

Carolyn Kielma is a science teacher from Bristol Eastern High School who was recently named Teacher of the Year in Connecticut this past October.

The Council of Chief State School Officers is considering Kielma and four other teachers across the nation to become Teacher of the Year on a national level.

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“I cannot wait to head to our nation’s capital and get to work to elevate this career,” Kielma said in an announcement made by the state. “I am ready to work with my teacher colleagues across all disciplines and grade levels, states and territories to reform policy and practice that continues to promote equity and inclusion, while providing opportunities for all of our scholars to be successful. I am ready to show the nation how valuable and vital teachers are to the health and future of our society as I inspire others to view our job as respected, desired, and prestigious.”

The other finalists are from Alaska, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Washington D.C. and were the 2023 Teachers of the Year for their respective states and districts.

“Connecticut has the best public school teachers in the nation, and I am delighted to hear that our extraordinary teachers are receiving national recognition for their service,” Gov. Ned Lamont said. “Ms. Kielma has provided so many students in the Bristol Public Schools system with a top-level education, and I’ve heard nothing but extraordinary compliments about her from her colleagues and students, many of whom I had the honor of meeting late last year when we visited Bristol Eastern High School to surprise Ms. Kielma with the announcement that she has been selected as Connecticut Teacher of the Year. She has made a real impact on the lives of many young people, and I thank her for her dedication to Connecticut’s public schools.” 

Kielma has taught science to Connecticut students since 2002. Over the past 15 years at Bristol East, she has taught classes in varying science subjects, including biology, biotech, forensics, environmental science, anatomy and physiology, and the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) class.

After the five finalists are interviewed by the National Teacher of the Year Program’s Selection Committee, the final selection will be announced in the spring.


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