Colorado Springs “Hero Crafter” named 2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year

Sean Wybrant’s official job title is a career and technical education teacher, but he prefers “Hero Crafter” for his work at William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs School District 11 as he guides students toward their future accomplishments.

“I’m preparing kids to face challenges that we don’t even understand because they don’t exist yet,” Wybrant said Oct. 11 after a school assembly. “We’ll need super heroes to address massive challenges, and those super heroes are in our classrooms right now.”

Anthes congratulates Wybrant, Oct. 11, at the Palmer High assemblyThat school assembly was held to honor Wybrant as the 2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year, “to be the face of all dedicated teachers in Colorado,” said Dr. Katy Anthes, Colorado’s interim education commissioner, just before making the surprise announcement.

“(Wybrant) is diligent and understands the importance of achieving at the highest level, and demonstrates that ability on a daily basis,” said Anthes in announcing the award. She shared quotes from Wybrant’s nomination packet, noting “(Palmer High) Principal Disney said, ‘He will push the envelope in the spirit of what is right for kids,’ and one student said, ‘He makes sure that students see how the world – our passions, our creativity, and what we are learning the classroom – all works together.’” 

     ** See video of Dr. Anthes awarding the Colorado Teacher of the Year Award to Wybrant at this link to CEA’s YouTube channel **

The Colorado Education Association is a longtime sponsor of the Colorado Teacher of the Year Award, and CEA Secretary-Treasurer Lawrence Garcia presented Wybrant with a stipend to travel in his new role. CEA will also provide Wybrant networking opportunities with past Colorado Teachers of the Year.

“One of the things you said in that (nomination) letter is that you didn’t go into teaching for awards or for honors, and that reached through to my heart,” Garcia said in his remarks. “People go into teaching because they care about children, because they care about their community, and because they care about the future. Sean, thanks for making the choice to go into teaching and for caring about all of those things.”

Wybrant is a member of the Colorado Springs Education Association. CSEA President Kevin Vick and CS UniServ Unit Director Thad Gemski also attended the assembly to congratulate Wybrant.

          ** See video of Garcia’s remarks and other event speakers at this link to CEA’s YouTube channel **

“I’d like to thank my colleagues because you inspire me to do the things that I do. Every single one of you that I work with on a regular basis – you could be the person up here and you deserve the award just as much, so thank you for consistently helping me,” Wybrant said after receiving a standing ovation from students and faculty at the ceremony.

Wybrant also thanked the Palmer students, saying “Every day I come to school, I am absolutely amazed by your generosity and your optimism, your willingness to take on tasks and your willingness to try and push boundaries to improve the lives of others… I am inspired and I feel very lucky and very privileged to get to work with you.”

          ** See video of Principal Lara Disney’s introduction and Wybrant’s remarks at this link to CEA’s YouTube channel **

Wybrant will compete for the National Teacher of the Year Award and will be honored with other state Teachers of the Year by the next U.S. President at a White House ceremony. The five finalists for the 2017 Colorado Teacher of the Year Award are Jeremy Beckman of Discovery Canyon Campus High School, Academy District 20; Melanie Holts of Falcon Elementary School of Technology, Falcon School District 49; Lisa Lee of Wheat Ridge High School, Jeffco Public Schools and Jefferson County Education Association; Carina Raetz of Carver Elementary School, Colorado Springs School District 11 and Colorado Springs Education Association; and Jodi Simpson, of Paonia Elementary School, Delta County School District.

Garcia, Vick, Wybrant and Gemski after the ceremony, Oct. 11