• Refer a Friend
  • Locations
  • Contact
  • Rates
  • Schedule Appointment
  • Login

  • New Loans and Accounts: 602-433-5626
  •  Service: 602-433-7000
  •  Routing # 122187238

Celebrate Our Teachers at the Arizona Teacher of the Year Awards Ceremony

Desert Financial is honored to celebrate our teachers as the presenting title sponsor of Arizona Educational Foundation’s 2021 Teacher of the Year program! Join us for the virtual awards ceremony on October 23rd at 6 p.m at azedfoundation.org. Five teachers will be named “Ambassadors for Excellence” and one will be named 2021 Arizona Teacher of the Year. Save the date to celebrate!

2020 was the year when superheroes revealed their capes, taking to the frontlines to do their part to help during COVID-19. Teachers are among the heroic essential workers who are now leading the way in unchartered territory: online learning at home.

There are new obstacles to overcome and teachers are well-deserving of a “thank you!” So we give our deepest appreciation to every educator as we spotlight the Arizona Teacher of the Year program by the Arizona Educational Foundation.

Celebrating Arizona Teacher Leaders

To honor our local heroes in education, the Arizona Educational Foundation’s (AEF) Arizona Teacher of the Year program spotlights 10 teachers for their passion and unwavering dedication. It’s like the Oscars of the teaching profession and Arizona’s highest honor in education.

Among the 10 teacher nominees selected, five teachers will be named finalists. These five “Ambassadors for Excellence” are in the running for earning the title of AEF’s 2021 Arizona Teacher of the Year. All teachers deserve recognition for their tireless and lifechanging work — and this opportunity is one prestigious way we can showcase 10 of the best!

Congratulations to this year’s 10 nominees!

  1. Estevan Carreon (Special Education), Independence High School, Glendale Union High School District
  2. Jillian Hernandez (Elementary Education), Puente de Hózhó Elementary School, Flagstaff Unified School District
  3. Jeffrey Mann (World History), Flowing Wells High School, Flowing Wells Unified School District
  4. Sara Mora (Career and Technical Education), Wrightson Ridge School, Sahuarita Unified School District
  5. Sharisse Nunes (Elementary Education), Falcon Hill Elementary, Mesa Public Schools
  6. Nicole Powell (Elementary Education), Las Sendas Elementary, Mesa Public Schools
  7. Shaylyn Savage (Special Education) Sunset Ridge Elementary School, Pendergast Elementary School District
  8. Elizabeth “Liz” Shaw (Social Studies), Rincon Vista Middle School, Vail Unified School District
  9. Hillary Stacey (Chemistry), Empire High School, Vail Unified School District
  10. Sara Wyffels (Spanish), Chandler High School, Chandler Unified School District

Learn more about the Arizona Teacher of the Year Awards!

Desert Financial Graciously Serves as the Presenting Title Sponsor

Desert Financial pledges to support schools, teachers and students by giving back to its community, which is why we’re so proud to serve as the title sponsor!

Supporting education has always been a top priority. We find ways to honor the legacy of our credit union’s founding teachers and we’re proud to serve as the title sponsor for this important recognition. Our Teacher Appreciation program honors educators throughout the year, and we’re proud to share the news of these 10 educators who consistently go above and beyond. Now, they’re being asked to do more than ever.
- Jeff Meshey, President and CEO of Desert Financial Credit Union

Both organizations have a shared purpose: to strengthen public education throughout the state, meet the needs of educators, tell stories of inspiration and success, and honor those who lead in the field. Needless to say, it’s a natural partnership through which Desert Financial and the AEF can make a strong impact.

2020 Teacher of the Year Lynette Stant & 2019 Teacher of the Year Kareem Neal

Lynette is a third-grade teacher at Salt River Elementary School and has taught at Salt River Schools in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community for 15 years. She is the first Native American teacher from an Arizona Bureau of Indian Education school to earn the esteemed distinction. She became a teacher because she wanted her Native American students to have a role model and be prepared for college.

Providing equitable learning opportunities in an environment that respects and honors Native American culture is essential … What I bring to the classroom is an understanding of the historical trauma that education has played in the lives of Native Americans. Although I can’t change the past, I can affect the future.

2019 Arizona Teacher of the Year, Kareem Neal, is a veteran teacher with 23 years of experience. He’s worked in special education at Maryvale High School for 13 years and made local history as Arizona’s first African American teacher to earn the designation.

I think it's time we recognize how these students enrich campus populations and how we should make a concerted effort to connect the entire school with these students.

In Kareem’s classroom, it’s all about family and building a new community, which is the best part for him. Forming bonds with other Teachers of the Year and meeting new interesting people is what has impacted his life the most. With this opportunity, Kareem gained a platform for raising awareness about self-contained special education, restorative justice and the need for more black male teachers.

AEF: Spotlighting & Championing Public Schools’ Exceptional Work

The Mission of the Arizona Educational Foundation: To identify, support and celebrate excellence in pre-K – 12th grade Arizona public education through business and community partnerships.

The AEF carries out its mission through programs for students, teachers and administrators. These programs spotlight excellence, as well as support schools and educators who are passionate about elevating education.

Carolyn Warner, a former state superintendent of public education, founded the statewide nonprofit organization in 1983 to champion public education and recognize the amazing work of public-school educators.

Save the Date & Celebrate! AEF Arizona Teacher of the Year Awards Ceremony

The AEF’s premier annual event will air on October 23, 2020, at 6 p.m. The virtual ceremony features videos of the five ambassadors, congratulatory messages from special guests and the announcement of the 2021 Arizona Teacher of the Year!

The winning educator advances to become Arizona’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year. Winnings also include:

  • $15,000 from AEF
  • Paid travel to attend National Teacher of the Year events, including a trip to the White House to meet the president and a weeklong trip to the International Space Camp
  • Consideration for an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University
  • Professional speech and storytelling training
  • Other amazing gifts given by partners

Visit azedfoundation.org where you will be able to click a link to tune in. Make sure to mark your calendar and let’s congratulate teachers for their exceptional work!

See how Desert Financial shares success with our community!


The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.