AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – After a planned announcement during its Fall Kickoff 2023 event on Thursday, officials from Region 16 school districts on the High Plains released details on the elementary and secondary teachers of the year for 2023.

The Elementary Teacher of the Year for Region 16 was announced to be Diana Ortega from Dumas Independent School District. The Secondary Teacher of the Year was announced as Kelley Jo Ashlock from Friona Independent School District.

Both Ortega and Ashlock, said officials, will represent Region 16 at the state level as part of a group of 40 Regional Teachers of the Year.

As explained by officials, each of the 20 ESC regions in Texas chooses one elementary and one secondary teacher each year to compete for the Texas State Teacher of the Year. The 2024 Teacher of the Year winner will be named during an upcoming Oct. 20 ceremony.

“Since 1969, the Texas State Teacher of the Year (TOY) Program has honored excellence in classroom education and provided a forum to showcase many outstanding educators whose efforts and example have inspired our students, their colleagues and the communities they serve,” said Region 16 officials.

The announcement noted that the Texas Teacher of the Year award is the highest honor that can be given to a teacher by the Lone Star State. The Texas Association of School Administrators, which facilitates the award, uses it to annually recognize and reward teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching.

For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.