Governor Lamont Announces Kiana Foster-Mauro Is Connecticut's 2024 Teacher of the Year
New London Educator Earns State’s Highest Teaching Recognition
Governor Ned Lamont, Kiana Foster-Mauro, and Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker
[Download image in high quality]
(NEW LONDON, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker today announced that Kiana Foster-Mauro, a fourth-grade teacher at Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School in New London, has been selected as Connecticut’s 2024 Teacher of the Year. The recognition is the state’s highest honor celebrating extraordinary teachers.
Governor Lamont, Commissioner Russell-Tucker, and other state and local officials delivered the news to Foster-Mauro this morning during a surprise visit to her classroom, which was followed by a schoolwide assembly and celebration with the honoree’s students, fellow educators, and family.
“We are grateful to have a hardworking educator like Ms. Foster-Mauro teaching in our public schools,” Governor Lamont said. “We’ve heard so many impressive stories about her from her colleagues and students at Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School. She embodies the qualities needed to prepare students for success throughout their lives. It was an honor to visit her in her classroom today to deliver this great news. Connecticut has the best public school teachers in the nation and they should be recognized and celebrated.”
“Teachers are the heartbeat of our education system, and it is a privilege to acknowledge Kiana Foster-Mauro as Connecticut’s 2024 Teacher of the Year,” Commissioner Russell-Tucker said. “Kiana empowers her students through culturally-sustaining learning and recognizes the importance of diverse representation and practices in education. We are thankful for all she does to uplift and recognize the infinite possibilities of all students. Congratulations to Kiana for achieving the state’s highest recognition honoring extraordinary teachers.”
Foster-Mauro is a lifelong learner who is committed to empowering her students. As a Black, biracial woman, Foster-Mauro understands the importance of diversity in education. She believes teaching is a radical act that impacts minds and hearts, designing lessons that empower and tackle critical and relevant topics.
Foster-Mauro has presented at conferences, nationally and locally. She has been a member of the National Association for Multicultural Education since 2018 and was recently accepted to present on facilitating critical conversations around current events, identity, human rights, and mental health.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in education with minors in history and human rights, and a Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction from the University of Connecticut. At UConn, she served on the executive board of Leadership in Diversity, a student-led organization dedicated to diversifying education.
She is passionate about community and empowering others. She enjoys teaching her students reading, writing, and social studies daily and connecting with former students just down the hall and at her annual classroom family reunion. Outside of the classroom, she extends her commitment to education, diversity, and community as a dance teacher at The Dance Extension and company advisor to the Community Dance Ensemble.
“Kiana has shown exceptional qualities, such as intentional planning, unwavering responsibility, and a genuine commitment to the craft of teaching,” Jason Foster, principal of Nathan Hale Arts Magnet Elementary School, said. “Her passion and dedication to our students exemplify the highest standards of education. She is a critical part of our school community, and we are proud to honor this achievement.”
“Kiana Foster-Mauro is an exceptional teacher who represents all that is good about our profession,” David Bosso, president of the Connecticut Teacher of the Year Council and Connecticut’s 2012 Teacher of the Year, said. “She joins an impressive group of Connecticut Teachers of the Year, and her selection is a testament to the prevalence of teaching excellence in our state. The positive, enduring impact that Kiana has on the lives of her students, her school community, and beyond is abundantly evident. We look forward to working with her and her fellow district honorees this year.”
“We are beyond thrilled to highlight and honor Ms. Foster-Mauro,” Dr. Cynthia Ritchie, superintendent of New London Public Schools, said. “She is an exemplary teacher, role-model for our students, and an integral part of the New London Public School community who ignited a passion for learning among all. She will continue to inspire others to understand that education is truly a tool to make a positive difference in the world. We are incredibly proud and grateful for her contributions.”
“Kiana Foster-Mauro exemplifies how early career educators are effecting change in their classrooms and their profession,” Kate Dias, president of the Connecticut Education Association, said. “From her college days as a member of Leadership in Diversity, where she encouraged students of color to enter the teaching profession, to her role as a fourth-grade teacher in New London, she tackles each new challenge with confidence, enthusiasm, and the desire to do what’s right for students and public education in Connecticut.”
The designation of Connecticut Teacher of the Year is decided annually by the Connecticut Teacher of the Year Council, a group composed of former recipients of the honor and representatives from educational organizations, businesses, and the community. The council reviewed nearly 100 district-level Teachers of the Year through a rigorous selection process that included candidate applications, interviews, and school site visits, including focus groups with faculty, parents, administration, and students.
Kiana Foster-Mauro will now become Connecticut’s representative for 2024 National Teacher of the Year. She succeeds Connecticut’s 2023 Teacher of the Year, Carolyn Kielma, a science teacher at Bristol Eastern High School in Bristol.