DEED announces 2025 Alaska Teacher of the Year

From left to right: Colony High School Principal Kristy Johnson, DEED Commissioner Deena Bishop, 2025 Alaska Teacher of the Year Kelly Rentz, Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District Superintendent Randy Trani

Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) – On May 8, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development announced that Kelly Rentz, of Colony High School in Palmer, has been named the 2025 Alaska Teacher of the Year.

During the open nomination period, Rentz received nominations from students who are thrilled to be in her classes. Her dedication to her students and school community was evident in the evaluation process and has been apparent throughout her career.

Rentz has been a choir teacher since earning her Bachelor of Arts in Music with a vocal emphasis in 1989. She has served as a music teacher, music specialist, and choir director in the Anchorage School District and Matanuska Borough School District.

She has taught music for elementary and high school grades, produced the highest percentage of students selected for Alaska’s All-State Choir of any choir program in the state each year since 2020, co-hosted the Mat-Su District Honor Festival since 2019, and has taught AP Music Theory since 2019. She is currently the Director of Choirs at Colony High, a position she has held since 2018.

Her professional summary states, “Compassionate teaching professional, creating a culture of respect, integrity, and excellence through education in the fine arts. Community leader inspiring others to make good art for great causes.”

“Congratulations to Ms. Rentz for this great accomplishment,” Governor Mike Dunleavy said. “Great teachers motivate their students and create a learning environment students look forward to coming to. It’s clear that Ms. Rentz’s students look forward to learning from her.”

“Kelly’s dedication to educational excellence serves as an inspiration to our students, staff, and community,” DEED Commissioner Deena Bishop said. “There is no higher praise than to be nominated by your students, and it is with great pride that we honor her as the 2025 Alaska Teacher of the Year.”

Colony High School Principal Kristy Johnson remarked, “One of the most remarkable aspects of Kelly’s teaching is her ability to create a nurturing and inclusive learning environment where every student feels valued and supported. She goes above and beyond to ensure that each individual student receives personalized attention and guidance, thereby unlocking their full potential. Her unwavering belief in the abilities of her students empowers them to strive for excellence and achieve remarkable success both academically and artistically.”

As Alaska’s Teacher of the Year, Rentz will participate in programming offered by the Council of Chief State School Officers with other state Teachers of the Year. Rentz will also be Alaska’s candidate for the National Teacher of the Year.