2021 Teacher of the Year Program

The National Teacher of the Year Award was established in 1974 to recognize exemplary teachers who utilize cutting-edge methods, techniques and activities to provide stimulus and visibility to family and consumer sciences in elementary and secondary education.
National Award Sponsor:
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Lori Henry: 2021 National Teacher of the Year

Lori Henry, a 13-year AAFCS member, has been the family and consumer sciences teacher at Spring Lake Park High School in this Minneapolis suburb for 28 years, where the main focus of the curriculum is culinary arts and early childhood development. She was nominated for her program, "Making Connections through Leadership and Diversity."

Says Lori, "My curriculum focus in the past five years has been adapted and developed as I saw an increasing need for creating different diverse and community experiences and opportunities for all students. Differentiation is imperative to a successful classroom with students that are culturally diverse, special needs and/or economically
disadvantaged. As a suburb of Minneapolis, our school is continuing to evolve into a school with changing demographics. With this in mind, I began to think of ways that I could be creative in teaching life skills, while at the same time providing in and out of classroom experiences, that are unique and are representative to the school and

Her program successfully incorporates National FCS Standards, and her students Lori is an FCCLA Adviser, and, among other accolades for that work, was named to the National FCCLA 75th Anniversary Leadership Hall of Fame in 2020.

"If we are going to change the world, we need educators who empower students to engage in community building activities and remain engaged in civic matters as adults. This is what Lori Henry truly fosters with her students at Spring Lake Park High School." ~ Principal Matthew Boucher, Spring Lake Park High School

Charlene Kelley: 2021 National Merit Finalist

Charlene is a National Board Certified Teacher, where she has been the family and consumer sciences/health teacher for grades 5-12 since 2009 in Bloomer, WI. Her program, "Food Insecurity In Our Community"​ focuses on teaching students about poverty and food insecurity, using an action-based curriculum tied to national FCS standards to identify what poverty and food insecurity is, how it looks in the community, and how it looks different in other communities.

Says Charlene, "My motivation to develop ​Food Insecurity In Our Community​, ​started in 2014 when I attended my school’s poverty simulation. Our population of k-12 students that receive free or reduced lunches had jumped from about 15% in 2009 to 40% in 2014. Today, our free and reduced lunch population remains steady between 30%-40%. Our district has created the ​Hawk’s Closet​, an in-school food pantry and clothes closet for our high school student population. Beyond that I recognized the need for education among the student population. There were times where staff struggled to keep the ​Hawk’s Closet open due to vandalism. Some of the student population didn’t understand the significance of student need. We needed education and value placed on this space."

Top Affiliate Teachers of the Year

Brandi Ammons, West Virginia
School: Morgantown High School
Grades Taught: 9-12
Erin Byrnes, Pennsylvania
School: Solanco High School
Grades Taught: 9-12
Marla Sterling, Kansas
School: Cherryvale Middle/High School 
Grades Taught: 8-12
My program, Mohigan Mug and Bistro on 3rd: Flipping the Classroom into a Workplace, provides FCS students a balanced blend of classroom and real-life experiences in food production and services. Students receive practical instruction in the art of baking, functions of leadership, and college-career readiness. Individualized program goals, based on student skills and interests, integrate academics with labor market expectations. The theory and practice in the art of baking comes to life through today’s students, tomorrow’s workforce.
My program, Life Skills is preparation for successful, independent living through 21st Century skills via project-based learning. I continually strive to improve how students are tackling the 21st Century skills needed regardless of the paths they choose in this ever-changing world. Students experience a course packed with 21st Century skills practice, independent living skills, real world capabilities, technology, and creativity. Students recognize application in many settings and value these skills for living healthy, independent lives.
The primary focus of this program is Family Life/Personal and Social Development. The areas this program was designed to address include family relationships, healthy relationships, personal wellness, mental wellness, and career readiness. In the past two years I have implemented Safe Dates and Love Notes curriculums. Both of these programs focus on safe and healthy relationships; whether in a students family or dating life. Each program also touches on mental wellness.