LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe presented medals and checks Monday to four teachers chosen as state finalists for 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year in a ceremony at the state Capitol.

LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe presented medals and checks Monday to four teachers chosen as state finalists for 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year in a ceremony at the state Capitol.


The finalists, selected by a state Department of Education committee from 15 regional finalists, are:


—Donna C. Dillahunty, fifth-grade English language arts teacher at Marion Intermediate School.


—Lindsay S. Griffin, sixth-grade literacy teacher at Greenbrier Middle School.


—Jayna Moffit, seventh- and eighth-grade math teacher at Lincoln Junior High School.


—Ouida R. Newton, seventh-12th grade math teacher at Poyen High School.


Each finalist received a $1,000 award from the Walton Family Foundation. The selection committee will visit each finalist at her school over the next few weeks before naming the Teacher of the Year, who will receive an additional $14,000 from the foundation.


"I celebrate you for the last time in this office, but I don’t celebrate you for the last time for who you are and what you do," Beebe said. "It wasn’t you, because you all aren’t old enough, but it was … others on whose shoulders you stand that came before you that gave me a chance. Now you’re giving others like me a chance."


Beebe, who is prevented by term limits from seeking a third term, will leave office in January.


The 2014 Teacher of the Year, Jonathan Crossley, 11th- and 12th-grade English and oral communication teacher and drama director at Palestine-Wheatley High School, challenged all of the teachers in the room to "push our students forward."


"We are pushing the profession forward, but don’t misunderstand: You are also pushing the state forward," he said.