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Newcastle High teacher named Wyoming Teacher of the Year

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Newcastle High School teacher Zach Beam is Wyoming’s 2023 teacher of the year, the Wyoming Department of Education announced Thursday in a surprise assembly at the school.

Beam, a physical science, physics and advanced chemistry teacher, has taught in Newcastle for nine years. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Black Hills State University, where he majored in math and science education with a focus in physics and a masters degree in science education from Western Governors University with a focus in chemistry. Beam worked for the U.S. Forest Service Job Corps’ education department before becoming a teacher.

He’s presented at state and national conference on managing a paperless classroom, the logistics of summer field science and implementing a student makerspace to support student interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). He’ll teach a STEM Lab in Newcastle this fall.

“Zach has the ability to bring the excitement of learning to his students with innovation and explanation,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Schroeder. “What he is doing in the area of STEM education — and what he plans to do next fall — just goes to show that he is all-in with letting his students grasp these far-reaching concepts in a way that is really, really fun and exciting.”

Weston School District No. 1 Superintendent Brad LaCroix said that Beam “truly does care for all his students.”

“He is an exceptional teacher that has the art of making science fun and exciting as well as educational for the students,” LaCroix said. “He is greatly respected by students and staff at Newcastle High School as well as in the community.”

Beam said he encourages people to “value the opportunities that we can provide our students.”

“Every time students get exposed to new information, it could be the ember that ignites their passion for education and their future endeavors,” he said.

“I want the public to know that as teachers we are inspired by the ‘ah ha’ moments that our students have and we want to foster that excitement when our students ‘get it’ for the first time or make a connection to prior learning.”

The Wyoming Teacher of the Year represents the teaching profession in Wyoming, acting as a liaison between the teaching community, the Wyoming Legislature, the Wyoming Department of Education, districts and communities. Beam will also be an education ambassador to businesses, parents, service organizations and media, as well as an education leader involved in teacher forums and education reform.

Brittney Montgomery, a first-grade teacher at Harrison Elementary School in Sweetwater County, was the 2022 Wyoming Teacher of the Year.

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