Huge congrats to Tucson High’s Art Almquist, People magazine’s Teacher of the Year


by David Safier

Art-almquist-600aIt's wonderful to see Tucson High's drama teacher Art Almquist, a man who has devoted himself to the performing arts, get People magazine's Teacher of the Year award. These teachers who spend all that time with their students in their classrooms then spend ridiculously long hours with them after school deserve the highest praise. Anyone who has seen a good high school dramatic production — play or musical — has got to be in awe of the dedication, professionalism and talent drama teachers draw from their students. It sounds like Almquist is one of the best of the bunch.

I'm not sure if any AIMS scores were improved by Almquist's teaching, though it's possible. But you know, there's more to teaching than high stakes tests that are used to hang a "winner" or "loser" tag on students, teachers and schools. There is joy, love, caring about students, introducing them to the beauty and subtleties of written language, linking them to the history of theater and acting. It's hard to measure that kind of thing by making students fill in a bunch of mulitple choice bubbles, but some of us think the intangibles and untestables matter as much as, or more than, skills that can be quantified on a standardized test.

Let's hear it for wonderful, inspired, inspiring, caring teachers. May they never go out of style.


  1. As a 1959 THS graduate who spent countless hours in the Theater Arts Department performing in the Proscenium theater, the In The Round theater and on the Auditorium Stage, I can say that I am proud to be a graduate of such an excellent Theater Arts program and am so proud to hear of the award that Art Almquist has just won. I voted several times for him as an homage to my professors: Lloyd Roberts and Jack Frakes.

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