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A Newcastle High School teacher is selected as Wyoming’s Teacher of the Year

Wyoming 2023 Teacher of the Year, Zach Beam, a physical sciences, chemistry, and physics teacher at Newcastle High School.
Wyoming Department of Education
Wyoming's 2023 Teacher of the Year, Zach Beam, is a physical sciences, advanced chemistry, and physics teacher at Newcastle High School.

The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) recently announced that Zach Beam, a physical science, physics, and advanced chemistry teacher at Newcastle High School (NHS) has been chosen as Wyoming’s 2023 Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made at a surprise assembly on Sept. 22.

Beam was previously selected as Weston County School District #1’s Teacher of the Year, which qualified him for statewide consideration.

“It's pretty exciting because, as Wyoming Teacher of the Year, I am representing the teachers in Wyoming,” he said. “And so, it's kind of an honor to be in that position.”

Beam has taught at NHS since 2013 after beginning his career in education with the U.S. Forest Service’s Job Corps program in 2011. He currently teaches four courses, including STEM lab, which is new for this school year.

Despite his submission for the statewide title, Beam said that he wasn’t necessarily expecting to achieve the honor.

“I would say I was not necessarily blindsided but pretty surprised to actually be selected for this,” he added.

As part of his responsibilities that come with the honor, Beam will attend several workshops next year as well as joining the Level Up leadership program, which “seeks to elevate Wyoming’s education professionals by providing leadership development to an annual cohort of Wyoming’s leading educators.”

Beam has also presented at statewide and nationwide education conferences about managing a paperless classroom, the logistics of summer field science as well as in support of implementing student makerspaces to support the interests of students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Beam holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Black Hills State University in secondary math and science education with a focus in physics and a Master of Arts in Science Education from Western Governors University with a focus in chemistry.

Wyoming’s Teacher of the Year not only represents the teaching profession in Wyoming, but also acts as a liaison between the Wyoming Department of Education, the state legislature, school districts, and communities. They also act as an ambassador to parents, businesses, service organizations, the media, in addition to involvement in teacher forums and education reform, per the WDE.

Beam will also be submitted for National Teacher of the Year honor, which will be announced in the spring of 2023.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
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