Arizona Council for American Private Education (AZCAPE) has announced the finalists for this year’s Arizona Private Education Excellence Awards, dubbed the “Private School Teacher of the Year” awards.

Two Summit School teachers, Christy Menard and Molly Danforth, have the honor of being selected as finalist from over two hundred nominations, made by administrators, teachers, parents, students and alums from both faith-based and independent private schools.









“AZCAPE looked for private school teachers and staff members who model integrity, fairness, compassion, and resiliency; have a passion for education and the community served; value innovation and creativity; instill leadership by example; and promote giving back to the community,” explains Sydney Hay, AZCAPE Executive Director. “We believe that our finalists are educators who, in the eyes of the community, model outstanding service to the students, and are passionate and committed to developing the potential in each student. They help their students see their dreams come true.”

Christy Menard teaches high school Algebra and Geometry to Summit School middle school students. In 2011, 2012 and 2013 her algebra students scored in the top 10% on the Arizona Association of Teachers of Mathematics state-wide Algebra math competition, with four students in the top 10 state scores.  Menard’s passion for math and teaching exudes from her classroom, where students can be found daily over lunch or before school, voluntarily spending extra time delving into math concepts.

Molly Danforth loves teaching second grade, and as a National Board teacher with a master’s degree, and close to twenty years of teaching experience her students are the beneficiaries. She also serves as Summit’s elementary math peer leader. “We differentiate math instruction based on the student’s level for each new math concept taught in kindergarten through sixth grade,” explains Danforth. “Couple that with hands-on methods of teaching, and having children explain their thinking, we truly get to develop our students’ deeper, critical thinking and problem solving skills.”

AZCAPE will recognize three teachers this year: one from preschool through 3rd grade, another from grades four to eight, and a high school teacher. The final winners will be announced at a reception held in the finalists’ honor on the evening of October 22, 2013 at the Goldwater Institute at 500 E. Coronado in Phoenix. 

 AZCAPE is an affiliate of The Council for American Private Education, a coalition of national organizations and state affiliates serving private elementary and secondary schools.  There are over 33,000 private schools in the United States; in fact, one in every four schools in the nation is private. 

More than five million students attend them nationally. CAPE member organizations including AZCAPE represent more than 80 percent of private school enrollment nationwide.

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