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Lancaster County educator named Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year

Elizabeth Raff, an English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at Pequea Elementary in the Penn Manor School District is this year's award winner.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — A teacher in Lancaster County's Penn Manor School District has been named the 2022 Teacher of the Year, according to Secretary of Education Dr. Noe Ortega.

Elizabeth Raff, an English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at Pequea Elementary School, won the award, Ortega announced Monday.

The announcement was made during the SAS Institute, the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s annual professional development conference. 

“Teachers like Elizabeth Raff provide care, encouragement, and inspiration to their students even in a normal year, but their efforts are especially critical during challenging and unprecedented times,” said Ortega. “The consistency and dedication that Pennsylvania’s educators bring to their classrooms ensure that students can learn, grow, and thrive in safe and supportive atmospheres, and we applaud Ms. Raff and all of her fellow nominees for their commitment to their school communities.” 

Raff's teaching philosophy is that “Education engages students in the lifelong process of inquiry and critical thinking. It creates a dynamic space where learners examine new perspectives, take creative risks, and activate empathy while making the world a better place.” 

As Pennsylvania’s Teacher of the Year, Raff will travel the state, meet, and collaborate with other educators, and will represent the commonwealth in next year’s National Teacher of the Year competition.  

The Teacher of the Year program is co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania chapter of the National State Teacher of the Year, which was founded in 1995. 

Raff was chosen from among 12 finalists, Ortega said.

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