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Bristol teacher named Connecticut Teacher of the Year

Carolyn Kielma is a science teacher at Bristol Eastern High School.

BRISTOL, Conn. — A science teacher at Bristol Eastern High School in Bristol has been selected as Connecticut’s 2023 Teacher of the Year.

Carolyn Kielma was named Thursday morning by Gov. Ned Lamont in a surprise visit to the school along with Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker.

“Connecticut has the best public school teachers of any state in the nation, and there are so many exemplary teachers in our state we need to recognize for their service to our schools and our students," said Lamont in a statement.  "It is an honor for us to highlight the incredible work of Bristol Eastern High School’s Ms. Carolyn Kielma. She embodies so many of the effective qualities that transform students’ lives.”

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“Educators are a critical part of ensuring that our students are prepared for the real-world challenges that they will face in their postsecondary career and in life," said Russel-Tucker. "I am honored to recognize Carolyn Kielma as our 2023 Connecticut Teacher of the Year, and I am confident she will serve as an effective teacher ambassador for the thousands of talented Connecticut educators in this upcoming year.”

Kielma has been teaching science for 20 years. For the last 15 years she has taught biology, biotechnology and forensics, environmental science, biotechnical engineering, anatomy and physiology, and the Advancement Via Individual Determination program (AVID) elective class at Bristol Eastern High School.

She earned her bachelor of science degree in biology from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, and her master of science degree in secondary education from the University of New Haven.

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According to the governor's office, Kielma believes educators are masters of adaptation and evolution. She hopes to strengthen and improve her profession by focusing on ensuring the representation of all voices within her lessons while evolving and creating measurements of intelligence that reflect all of Connecticut’s scholars.

Kielma feels educator collaboration is essential to build and develop strategies to promote a culture of equity and inclusion and provide opportunities for all students across the state, the governor's office said.

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 “We could not be more proud of Ms. Kielma. She is a talented, dedicated, and exemplary educator and well-deserving of the state’s highest teaching honor," said Dr. Catherine Carbone, superintendent of Bristol Public Schools. "I am truly excited for the impact that she will have beyond Bristol Public Schools and on educators throughout the State of Connecticut.”

“Ms. Kielma’s enthusiasm for her students and the content that she teaches is contagious," said Michael Higgins, principal of Bristol Eastern High School. "She is student-centered and brings an energy to her classrooms that is beyond compare.”

The Connecticut Teacher of the Year Council reviewed nearly 100 district-level Teachers of the Year through a rigorous selection process that included candidate applications, interviews, and school site visits, as well as focus groups with faculty, parents, administration, and students.

Kielma will now become Connecticut’s representative for 2023 National Teacher of the Year. She succeeds Connecticut’s 2022 Teacher of the Year, Kim King, an art teacher at both the Southeast Elementary School and the Annie E. Vinton School in Mansfield.


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