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College of Education alumnus named 2022 Idaho Teacher of the Year

Todd Knight teaching in front of students
2022 Idaho Teacher of the Year Todd Knight explains a project to his 8th grade graders at Crossroads Middle School.

Todd Knight, ’09 elementary education, was announced as the 2022 Idaho Teacher of the Year by the Idaho State Department of Education. Knight teaches 7th and 8th grade coding, pre-engineering and physical science at Crossroads Middle School in West Ada School District and was selected from a pool of 150 nominees and 10 finalists.

Knight was surprised in his classroom by Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ibarra where he was presented with the award and a check from the State of Idaho for $1000. The Idaho Teacher of the Year program began in 1959 and is among the highest honors Idaho teachers can receive. Winners travel across Idaho to speak with other educators and policymakers and travel to Washington, DC in the spring to meet with President Biden.

As a teacher of middle schoolers, Knight strives to relate the content he teaches to his students’ everyday lives. “I take a hands-on approach and try and get students to see that learning is not just sitting in a desk doing book work,” he said. “We talk about learning permits and learning how to drive, then we start talking about how a motor works or why there are spoilers on some vehicles. We start looking at their life and relating it to the curriculum and the content that I’m teaching.”

Knight places extraordinary faith in his students and sees them as individuals capable of becoming critical thinkers and contributors to their communities. “I want them to see that they are able to critically think and make huge, life-altering decisions for themselves,” said Knight. “We (teachers) are trying to develop them into successful people who not just survive but thrive in the community.”

Knight remembers his experience in the elementary education program at Boise State preparing him with classroom management skills, and giving him the support he needed to get through tough times in the classroom when students might not be understanding a lesson. “The mentoring I received when we did student teaching has been incredibly powerful for me,” Knight said. “I am able to look back and see what I learned from the (student-teaching) classroom and actually see it my classroom. The field experience helped shaped me to become who I am.”