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Teacher/Staff of the Year Awards 2017-2018

As a component of the America’s Best City competition, the community formed Vision20/20 Lake Havasu City.  One of the pillars for change was focused on Education with a priority of retaining our talent.  With the award, the committee identified a focus on recognition for the talent we have in our district. 

In partnership with the chamber and the committee, LHUSD recognizes the extraordinary contributions made by teachers and staff every day to improve the lives of students in Lake Havasu City.  To honor their work, we invited community members, parents, colleagues, and students to nominate a teacher, rookie teacher, or staff member who they feel deserves this special recognition.

The online nomination phase was open January 8, 2018 - February 28, 2018. We received many nominations for each of our categories and for each of our sites, and selections were made difficult because all of the nominees were excellent and deserving. 

The selected teachers and staff were honored on May 17, 2018, at the Chamber Mixer, at which each site’s Teacher of the Year, Rookie Teacher of the Year and Staff of the Year will be recognized during a reception attended by honorees’ families, friends, students, colleagues, and community members to celebrate this special honor.  At this reception, we also announced the District Teacher of the Year.  The LHUSD Teacher of the Year will be nominated for the Arizona Rural Teacher of the Year through Arizona Rural Schools Association. 

Our Honorees are...

Support Staff Member of the Year: Manuel Hurtado, FSP - LHHS
Rookie of the Year: Ashlee Byerley, English - LHHS
Teacher of the Year  
Nautilus Nina Mersing
Havasupai Nicole Kuch
Smoketree Tamara Yates
Jamaica Jamie Hammer
Starline Rebecca Pehling
Oro Grande Tara Smith
Thunderbolt Lindsay Bitterman
High School Larry Olsen


Each honoree received a memento of recognition.

The District Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Tara Smith, received a proclamation by the Mayor, Mark Nexsen, proclaiming May 17, 2018, as Tara Smith Day in Lake Havasu City.

Tara also received a gift certificate from Mudshark and will have the menu item of her choice named after her for one year during her reign.

And the icing on the cake- Anderson Toyota gave Tara a brand new Camry to drive for one year- all expenses paid including insurance and maintenance! And of course, the car sports specialty graphics proclaiming the driver of the car as the LHUSD teacher of the year! Look for it in the London Bridge Days parade this fall.


Lake Havasu Unified School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, marital status, or disability in admission to its programs,
services, or activities, in access to them, in treatment of individuals, or in any aspect of their operations. More in English | Spanish.

We may provide links to outside websites that contain information about our students (including full name and pictures),
but such links will be limited to those related to a legitimate academic or extracurricular activity.


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2200 Havasupai Blvd. | Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403 | PH: 928-505-6900 | FX: 928-505-6999