Sun Prairie music teacher is finalist for National Teacher of the Year

gleason.jpg A Sun Prairie band director who was named Wisconsin’s middle school Teacher of the Year in September is now one of four finalists for the overall national honor.

Chris Gleason, 43, an instrumental music teacher and band director at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, will compete for the 2017 National Teacher of the Year Award with finalists from California, Maryland and Massachusetts.

The Council of Chief State School Officers, which runs the contest, announced the finalists Monday.

“I’m astonished, grateful, humbled,” Gleason said from his classroom.

He said he’s been told he will be flown to Washington, D.C., in March for two days of intense interviewing by the selection committee. The national winner is to be announced in late spring.

If he were to win, Gleason would be only the second Wisconsin teacher in history to do so, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.

The first national winner from Wisconsin was Helen “Missy” Adams, a kindergarten teacher in the Cumberland School District, in 1961.

It has been 50 years since the last Wisconsin finalist. That honor goes to Paul D. Plantico of Green Bay West High School in 1967.

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