Two of the seven finalists for the 2020 Colorado Teacher of the Year competition are from School District 49, the Pikes Peak region’s third-largest school district, the Colorado Department of Education announced Monday.

Erika Siemieniec, a business teacher at Sand Creek High School, and William Yerger, an enrichment teacher at Horizon Middle School, are vying for the state’s top honor for teachers. The education department will select the winner by Nov. 1.

Siemieniec often incorporates the community into her classroom through professional interviews, visiting local entrepreneurship pitch events and hosting an advisory board of teachers, students, parents and community members.

She is an advisor to a Future Business Leaders of America club and was head dance coach at Sand Creek High.

Siemieniec “demonstrates outstanding development of the business pathway, and excitement and passion for the success of her students,” according to contest organizers.

Yerger teaches seventh-grade forensics and eighth-grade health science. He holds a license as a registered nurse in Colorado, Career Technical Education certification in health science and is an instructor for the American Heart Association.

At Horizon Middle School, William has established a partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for students to provide sponsorships.

Yerger believes the goal of teaching is to provide students the knowledge and skills necessary to become contributing members of society.

“By using project-based learning, he helps to make those real-world connections and valuable learning experiences for students,” contest organizers said.

The 2018, 2017 and 2015 teachers who won the Colorado Teacher of the Year title were from the Pikes Peak region.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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