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Bowser Administration Announces Three Finalists for 2020 DC Teacher of the Year

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Media Contact: Fred Lewis (OSSE) – (202) 412-2167; [email protected]

Today, the Bowser Administration announced the names of three finalists for the 2020 DC Teacher of the Year: Beth Barkley of Cardozo Education Campus, Justin Lopez-Cardoze of Capital City Public Charter School, and Daniel Spruill of Center City Public Charter Schools-Brightwood Campus. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), which runs the DC Teacher of the Year program, will announce the winner in October 2019.

“The District of Columbia is fortunate to have a diverse array of talented and dedicated educators who are committed to improving the lives of all our students,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang. “Our 2020 Teacher of the Year finalists are experts in their subjects who have demonstrated mastery in the classroom and leadership in their communities. Congratulations to our three finalists!”

Beth Barkley
An English teacher in Cardozo EC’s International Academy since 2015, Beth Barkley also teaches two elective courses, Global Perspectives and Human Rights and Social Action. Prior to teaching at Cardozo, Barkley taught English and adult literacy classes in El Salvador in 2014. She also worked as a dialogue facilitator at the University of Maryland, College Park from 2010-2013 and teacher at CASA de Maryland from 2012-2013. Barkley has a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature, with a minor in Spanish Language and Culture from University of Maryland, College Park and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction also from University of Maryland, College Park. Barkley is a relentless advocate for immigrant rights, equity, and social justice.

Justin Lopez-Cardoze
A seventh-grade Life Science teacher at Capital City Public Charter School since 2016, Justin Lopez-Cardoze serves as the school’s Science Department chair, seventh grade-level team lead, and middle school representative on the school’s Equity Core Committee. Prior to teaching at Capital City PCS, Lopez-Cardoze taught Life Science, Biology, and Conceptual Chemistry at Yeshiva of Greater Washington from 2015-2016, and Chemistry at Lee High School in Jacksonville, FL, from 2011-2014. Lopez-Cardoze holds a master’s degree in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with a Biology and Hispanic Studies double minor from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. While attending UNC-Chapel Hill, he was awarded the GAT Teaching Award from the Department of Chemistry. Outside of his work at Capital City, Lopez-Cardoze works as clinical faculty for Urban Teachers in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University School of Education delivering coursework on Secondary Science curricula to Urban Teachers Fellows. Across the disciplines which he has taught, Lopez-Cardoze has delivered lessons that are culturally relevant, inquiry-based, and equitable to meet the needs of all students.

Daniel Spruill
A music educator at Center City Public Charter Schools-Brightwood Campus since 2008, Daniel Spruill serves students in pre-K 3 through eighth grade. He also served as a music instructor for the Center City Consortium from 2006-2008. Spruill holds a doctorate in Theology from Liberty University, a master’s degree in Liberal Arts from Wilmington University, a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from Liberty University, and an associate degree in Music from Prince George’s Community College. Owner and producer of Dasu Music Productions, Spruill serves as a musical director and consultant for various community theatre organizations that give children and young adults ranging in age from 6-18 the opportunity to learn about the performing arts, music composition, learn an instrument and perform musicals. He has received several awards from Center City PCS, including outstanding educator and exceptional impact on student achievement. Spruill consistently advocates for the performing arts and arts integration in every school in music workshops, with community leaders, parents, churches, and when he travels abroad.

“Every year, OSSE receives dozens of nominations from educators, parents, students, and community members for teacher of the year candidates who inspire and accelerate growth for all students, build strong partnerships with families and communities, and champion the teaching profession,” said State Superintendent Kang. “I look forward to learning more about our three finalists over the coming months and am excited to name our 2020 Teacher of the Year in October.”  

To be eligible for this award, a candidate must be a current teacher in a public or public charter school in the District of Columbia and must plan to continue as a teacher in DC for the 2019-20 school year. The 2020 DC Teacher of the Year will receive a $7,500 award, professional development and leadership opportunities, and will represent DC in the 2020 National Teacher of the Year competition, sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.