(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser presented Beth Barkley, a high school teacher at the International Academy at Cardozo Education Campus, with the 2024 DC Teacher of the Year Award. The Mayor was joined by State Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant and Cardozo Education Campus students and staff to surprise Barkley with the award. The prestigious honor, which comes with a $7,500 prize, is awarded annually to a DC Public Schools (DCPS) or public charter school teacher who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to student achievement.
“We are incredibly proud and grateful to celebrate Beth Barkley as our 2024 Teacher of the Year,” said Mayor Bowser. “Teachers like Ms. Barkley are the foundation of strong school communities. Her approach to education represents the passion and care that our educators bring to the classroom and we look forward to cheering her on as she competes for National Teacher of the Year.”
Ms. Barkley has taught at Cardozo Education Campus for eight years, working with newcomer students in the school’s International Academy and teaching a Human Rights and Social Action class. Prior to this, she taught English for grades 4-9 and Spanish literacy for adults at schools in El Salvador and Prince George’s County. A 2020 DC Teacher of the Year finalist and recipient of the DCPS Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Teaching, Ms. Barkley has been rated “highly effective” by DCPS since 2017.
“I will continue to create platforms to amplify students’ voices, raise awareness, find creative solutions to our mental health crisis, and ensure equitable access for immigrant youth. This is for students. They are the Teachers of the Year,” said Barkley in her application letter for DC Teacher of the Year.
Ms. Barkley has worked with English learner students at Cardozo’s International Academy since it opened in the 2014-15 school year, focusing on the unique needs of the growing number of newcomer students who come to DC. Additionally, Ms. Barkley also serves as teacher lead for the International Academy’s Family Engagement Leadership team, where assists students and their families in adapting to and succeeding in their new educational environments.
At Cardozo, Ms. Barkley has taught Human Rights and Social Action courses and co-facilitated intergroup dialogues and social identity workshops with students. She also works with students to organize for justice outside of the classroom, including a recent campaign for access to mental health services and resources for immigrant students and families. Ms. Barkley and her students also organized the Inspiring Voices: Challenges and Resilience from Young Leaders in the Immigrant Community series. In the community, Ms. Barkley is a part of United We Dream and Teaching for Change's DC Area Educators for Social Justice People’s History Curriculum Working Group.
“Ms. Barkley...joined the International Academy in its first year in 2015. Her leadership in and out of the classroom since that time has been instrumental in nurturing a positive school culture and a nationally recognized program for newly arrived immigrant students,” said Wedad Yassin, Cardozo EC assistant principal of ELL Instruction, in recommending Barkley for the award. “Her instructional best practices, her engagement with all her students and their families, and her commitment to equity make her most deserving of this award.”
“Beth Barkley has become such an integral part of so many newcomer students’ lives by ensuring they are seen and heard in their school and communities, by providing a lifeline to family in their native countries, and by ensuring they have access to the high-quality education, services and supports our schools offer and they deserve,” said State Superintendent Dr. Grant. “As 2024 DC Teacher of the Year, Beth Barkley will have an opportunity to further amplify the voices of vulnerable and marginalized students in DC and nationally, as a candidate for National Teacher of the Year. Congratulations, Beth Barkley, and best wishes!”
In addition to connecting with her students on a personal level and supporting their social-emotional health, Ms. Barkley has also worked to increase her students’ academic performance and bridge the language barrier. Her students frequently see growth in their test scores and English language comprehension, with many doubling their expected growth in evidence-based writing assessments.
“Ms. Barkley has earned a district-wide reputation for intertwining education and social justice in her classroom,” said DC Public Schools Chancellor, Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee. “I have had the good fortune to engage with her and Cardozo students to discuss advancing educational equity within our district, so I know firsthand that this Teacher of the Year Award is well-deserved. DCPS is grateful to have educators like Ms. Barkley empowering students to not only thrive and reach their full potential, but also to give back and make things better for their communities.”
In addition to being named DC Teacher of the Year, Ms. Barkley is now in the running for the National Teacher of the Year Award, which is run by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Barkley will also receive an additional $5,000 to support travel to national conferences, workshops, and other professional development opportunities during her one-year term as 2024 DC Teacher of the Year.
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) also named four 2024 DC Teacher of the Year finalists: Chad Harris, a music teacher at Stanton Elementary School; Kena Allison, a biology teacher at Washington Latin Public Charter School; Rabiah Harris, a physical science and robotics teacher at Ida B. Wells Middle School; and Aneesah Blount, a kindergarten teacher at Van Ness Elementary School.
For more information on the DC Teacher of the Year program, visit the OSSE website.