Jose Corona, a third-grade teacher at Kirkwood Elementary School in Toppenish for the past 20 years, has been named the Educational Service District 105 Regional Teacher of the Year for 2016-17. ESD Superintendent Kevin Chase presented the award during a surprise announcement as part of the Toppenish School District’s staff-wide pre-service orientation meeting at Toppenish High School’s Performing Arts Center earlier today (Aug. 22).

Corona will be one of nine candidates from throughout the state for the 2017 Washington State Teacher of the Year award, which is scheduled to be announced on Sept. 19 at the Seattle Center’s Experience Music Project / Science Fiction Museum.

Here's some background information from ESD 105:

"A 1991 graduate of Sunnyside High School, Corona wrote in his application materials that he grew up in a family of poverty and once struggled academically as a student who had learning gaps and problems with good attendance.  Then he made the decision as a teen to work hard on his schooling in order to turn things around, and ultimately graduated from high school with honors and earned enough scholarships to become the first person in his family to attend college.  He eventually obtained his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Washington State University in 1995, and his master of education degree in professional studies and teaching from Heritage University in 2013."