State Teacher of the Year | Semi-Finalist

The Lake Hamilton School District is proud to announce that Jil'Lana Heard, LHSD Teacher of the Year, has advanced in the Arkansas Teacher of the Year Program and is now a State Semi-Finalist.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key recognized four Arkansas teachers today who were named 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year State Semi-Finalists. During the ceremony held at the Governor’s Mansion, 12 regional finalists also were honored. 

“Congratulations to the four teachers recognized today,” Key said. “In light of the most recent unprecedented school year, I want to thank all educators for their commitment to their students. These four teachers recognized today are among some of the best educators around this state and represent the hard work and professionalism exhibited whether students learned in person or virtually. Thank you for serving as role models for your students, your fellow educators, and your communities.”

The state semi-finalists listed below each received a medallion and an additional $1,000 prize provided by the Walton Family Foundation. As a regional finalist, they also received a certificate and a $1,000 prize. 

Allison Dolan
Social Studies, Grades 9-12
Don Tyson School of Innovation
Springdale School District
Northwest Arkansas Education Service Cooperative

Jil’Lana Heard
Library Media Specialist, Grades 10-12
Lake Hamilton High School
Lake Hamilton School District
Dawson Education Service Cooperative

Vickie Lewis
English, Math, Reading, Science, & Social Studies, Grades 6-8
NewStart Academy ALE
Wynne School District
Crowley’s Ridge Educational Service Cooperative

Jessica Saum
Special Education, Grades K-4
Stagecoach Elementary School
Cabot School District
Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Cooperative

The Arkansas Teacher of the Year program is part of the National Teacher of the Year program, which recognizes teachers for their teaching and leadership skills. The ATOY selection committee will conduct site visits for each of the four-state semi-finalists, with the 2022 ATOY named this fall. The ATOY will be eligible to become the 2022 National Teacher of the Year.

To learn more about the ATOY program, visit