Check out this year’s panel of amazing judges!
2018 National Teacher of the Year
Kermit the Frog
Host of “The Tonight Show”
2018 National Teacher of the YearMandy Manning teaches English to newly arrived refugee and immigrant students in the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington. In her classroom, Mandy uses experiential projects like map-making to help her students process trauma, celebrate their home countries and culture, and learn about their new community. As 2018 National Teacher of the Year, Mandy will encourage educators to teach their students to overcome their fears and seek out new experiences. “Let’s teach our students to be fearless,” she says. “Let’s teach them to be brave when confronted with uncertainty. Brave when they fail. Brave in meeting new people. Brave in seeking opportunities to experience things outside of their understanding.” Mandy strives to create connections between her students and the community inside and outside of the school. Her students work in the student store and she encourages other students to visit and volunteer in the Newcomer Center. She also invites district leaders, campus resource officers, community members of color, and professional writers to visit her classroom. The visits help her students learn cultural expectations and how to express themselves effectively. In return, her students teach these leaders where they come from, who they are, and the beauty they add to the school district. “All of us together make this world interesting and good. We must teach our students to overcome their fears and seek out new experiences. The only way to teach fearlessness is to show it. We must show kindness by getting to know our students, learning about them, and showing them how to connect,” she says. Mandy has taught for the past 19 years, seven of which have been in her current role. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Eastern Washington University, a Masters of Arts from West Texas A & M University, and a Masters of Fine Arts from Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. Mandy is a National Board Certified Teacher.
Kermit the Frog
Amphibian EntertainerKermit the Frog, a star of stage, screen and swamp, has spent his entire career following his dream: “I want to sing and dance and make people happy. It’s the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with.” This famous frog has shared that dream with people – as well as pigs, bears, chickens, etc – since 1955 when he first hopped on the scene. With a song in his heart, a banjo on his knee and (quite frequently) Miss Piggy at his side, Kermit gained international acclaim on The Muppet Show, has starred in eight motion pictures, including “The Muppet Movie,” “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and “Muppets Most Wanted,” made countless guest appearances, authored several best-selling books, won two Webby Awards for “Best Viral Videos” and, most recently, performed live on-stage in The Muppets Take The Hollywood Bowl and The Muppets Take the O2. Through it all, Kermit remains a simple amphibian whose greatest joy is sitting on a log, listening to the crickets…and, ahem, eating them. It’s a frog thing.
Host of “The Tonight Show”As host of “The Tonight Show,” Jimmy Fallon has expanded the boundaries of late night television, treating audiences to memorable celebrity interviews, creative musical bits, and groundbreaking viral videos. The four-time Emmy winner started his career in 1998 with six successful seasons on “Saturday Night Live” as a cast member from 1998 to 2004, and went on to host SNL three times. He also created and developed “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon,” a Universal Studios Florida attraction which opened in the spring of 2017. Fallon’s digital prowess most recently earned him a 2018 Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Short Form Variety Series category for “The Tonight Show’s” digital Cover Room series. He has written two best-selling books based on the popular “Tonight Show” segment Thank You Notes, and both of his children’s books “Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada” and “Everything Is Mama” debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. His comedy album “Blow Your Pants Off,” featuring collaborations with Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, and Justin Timberlake, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s comedy album chart and won the 2013 Grammy for Best Comedy Album.<>