CORTLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – A Valley teacher is in the running for the 2023 Ohio Teacher of the Year award.

Lakeview Elementary school teacher Melissa Kmetz is one of 11 statewide who is vying for the designation.

Kmetz is going into her 17th year of teaching third grade and her 19th year of teaching overall. She graduated from Campbell Memorial High School in 1999 and obtained a full academic scholarship to Youngstown State University. She graduated in May 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and in 2007, obtained a Master of Science in Education with a specialty in reading from YSU.

“I strive to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment for all students while sparking their interest and enthusiasm in learning. It is my goal to teach all students how to learn, not just what to learn. The most important lessons learned in our classroom won’t always be academic ones. It is incredibly important to me that students embrace kindness and compassion and strive to make the world a better place. I want them to learn they are never too young to make a difference in the lives of others,” Kmetz said.

Lakeview Teacher Is Finalist for Ohio Teacher of the Year (2)
Courtesy: Trumbull County Educational Service Center

The Ohio Teacher of the Year program annually identifies exceptional teachers statewide, celebrating their effective work in and outside the classroom.

Selected teachers move through two levels of recognition regionally and then at the state level. After that, they can be selected as a National Teacher of the Year.

The Ohio Teacher of the Year program is a two-year opportunity that includes recognition, celebration and professional development in the first year and then as a fellow to the Department of Education in year two.

Last year, Ohio History teacher Kurt Russell was chosen as the 2022 National Teacher of the Year. He teaches at Oberlin High School.

Nominations for 2022 Ohio Teacher of the Year closed April 30.