NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark – A North Little Rock Middle School teacher received praises and recognition on Friday as she was named 2023 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.

The Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas Teacher of the Year Committee named Capri Salaam for her involvement in not only the classroom as a social studies and multi-classroom teacher, but also her work in the community.

Committee members said Salaam’s innovative teaching practices, ability to engage and connect with any student gained her the title.

“Ms. Salaam’s teaching skills, commitment to her students, and love for the profession are reflected in her creative and innovative efforts to meet her students where they are,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said.

Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key added to the governor’s praise of Salaam. Key said he was extremely excited to recognize Salaam as Teacher of the Year and was the perfect person for the honor.

“Her ability to bring history to life through creative lessons, combined with her ongoing love of learning and professional growth, are reflected in her students’ success both in and out of the classroom.” Key said.

She received her education across the state at several Arkansas universities, and even after a Bachelor of Arts and two Master degrees, continues her education. She is working towards a Learning Systems Technology Education Graduate Certificate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

She is also a member of multiple community organizations and holds multiple teaching licenses.

As a regional finalist, state semi-finalist and now being eligible to become the National Teacher of the Year, Salaam has been awarded a total of $16,000, sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation.  

”Ms. Salaam’s dedication extends far beyond the time she engages with her students in the classroom,” Gov. Hutchinson said. “She is very deserving of this honor.”

According to the Arkansas Department of Education’s website, the mission of the ATOY program is to promote the profession and recognize quality teachers who implement best practices in Arkansas public school classrooms.

Beginning July 1, 2023, Salaam will join the State Board of Education as non-voting member and traveling the state promoting her platform of improving student mental health and ongoing social-emotional learning.