TAHOE/TRUCKEE — The Truckee Hometown Sears-Sierra Sun Teacher of the Year selection committee concluded its selection of finalists last month. Seven teachers were selected as Teacher of the Year finalists and spotlighted in the Sierra Sun. The committee is reviewing these finalists and will be selecting the 2012 Teacher of the Year.The Truckee Hometown Sears and Sierra Sun wish to recognize and sincerely thank their key partners in the Teach of the Year Program. These include Cottonwood Restaurant, sponsor of the teacher award dinner, and both Charter Media and Suddenlink for generously supporting the campaign for Teacher of the Year with Public Service Announcements.Making these announcements especially meaningful were the producers of the commercials Rory O’Farrell Video Media Instructor at Truckee HS, and the Truckee High School ROP Video Classes.“PSA commercials produced by Truckee High School students in the ROP Video Classes created ownership, greater awareness of the program, and most importantly the commercials demonstrated the impact teachers have had on their lives,” said Charter Media Account Executive Peg Friesen, a longtime Truckee resident.“Having Rory and the students actually produce the commercials promoting the program was the icing on the cake,” said Charlie Riley of the Truckee Hometown Sears Store. “The Teacher of the Year Program’s intent is to recognize teachers that have made difference in the lives of our students in North Lake Tahoe. Involving these very students in promoting awareness of the program and teacher nominations was perfect.”Teacher finalists represented Glenshire Elementary School, Truckee Elementary School, Donner Trail Elementary School, Alder Creek Middle School, North Tahoe School and Truckee High School. The selection committee would like to thank principals Kathleen Gauthier, Valerie Simpson, Susan Phebus, Teresa Rensch and David Putney and district director of special education Corrine Harvey for their input and help in recognizing some of their outstanding teachers.• Joanne Haddy, recently retired third grade teacher from Glenshire Elementary, was praised by nominators for her commitment to communication and her ability to meet the needs of all students. As one parent nominator described, she is “a real gem.”• Lisa Furr, special education teacher of the Tahoe Truckee transition class, collaborates with community members to give her students the skills needed to live and work in the community. Nominators shared how Furr teaches her students, and colleagues, that everyone, regardless of a disability, can contribute to the community.• Katie Jamison, North Tahoe School’s social studies teacher, uses her creativity and energy to inspire her middle school students. Students say she isn’t all talk, what she does in class makes learning fun.• Michelle Reed, Donner Trail Elementary teacher, collaborates with a great team of teachers and shares her passion and enthusiasm with students and parents alike. Described as the “green ambassador,” Reed uses the outdoor environment to create exciting and engaging lessons for her students.• Amalia Niewendorp, kindergarten teacher at Truckee Elementary School, integrates cultural and community events into her classroom, exciting students and parents about learning. She takes time to know each of her young students as individuals and inspires parents to contribute to their learning in and outside of the classroom.• Neysa Williams, science teacher at Alder Creek Middle School, uses her enthusiasm for a subject she loves to capture the interest of students. Her energy and passion encourage students to look for the science that is all around them.• Diane Laroche, Truckee High School math teacher, helps struggling students by making the complex accessible. Just like her own high school math teacher, Laroche has even inspired students to continue their math education and strive to become math teachers in the future.The selection committee would also like to recognize the following teachers who were nominated this year: Marnie Anderson, Candy Blesse, Anna Davis, Jill Haky-Smith, Jenni Dewald, Kathleen Belden, Erin Robb, Sherri Burns-Sullivan, Molly Holiday and Judy Finney. All of these teachers have clearly touched the lives of many students and have made an impact on the community. The selection committee found in very difficult to choose finalists from such an outstanding group of teachers.The Teacher of the Year winner will receive, in addition to previously awarded Sears gift certificate, a dinner party for 6 generously donated by Cottonwood Restaurant.