Anchorage science teacher named Alaska’s Teacher of the Year

Catherine Walker gasps as Acting Education Commissioner Heidi Teshner presents her with a 2024 Teacher of the Year plaque on May 19, 2023. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage School District’s Catherine Walker is Alaska’s 2024 Teacher of the Year. Walker received the prestigious award at a surprise assembly on Friday at Dimond High School, where she teaches oceanography, marine biology and engineering essentials.

A crowd of hundreds of students, plus high school staff, cheered as Acting Alaska Education Commissioner Heidi Teshner announced the award. Walker gasped. She said the award meant a lot to her.

“So excited, and just energized to make a difference and to give back,” she said.

Walker grew up in Alaska and began teaching at Romig Middle School in 2006 before moving to Dimond in 2017. Her husband Ben Walker was Alaska’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.

Catherine Walker highlighted hands-on projects she has created for her students, including a trip to the swimming pool where they used remote operated vehicles to clean up a simulated oil spill. 

She said she has also focused on partnering with the community and businesses to enhance her classroom, and students’ learning experiences.

“One thing that I feel has been really successful is being more open to sharing what we’re doing with the community,” Walker said. 

Walker got support from Matson recently to send students to Whittier to help clean up nearly 500 pounds of trash in Prince William Sound. 

The 2024 Teacher of the Year Award is given out by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. Walker will now be involved with the Council of Chief State School Officers with Teacher of the Year award recipients from other states, and is Alaska’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year award.  

Previous articleState of Art: Artist Indra Arriaga Delgado releases new book examining decolonization, identity and language
Next articleMat-Su educators vote to strike