For Immediate Release
Posted: October 25, 2022

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Alvirne High Educator Named 2023 NH Teacher of the Year

alvirne high school teacher of the year award ceremonyConcord, NH – Yesterday, during a surprise celebration at Alvirne High School in Hudson, educator Christian Cheetham was named New Hampshire's 2023 Teacher of the Year.

On hand for the surprise celebration was First Lady Valerie Sununu, who serves on the NH Teacher of the Year Selection Committee.

"The New Hampshire Teacher of the Year program is a precious space where we elevate the profession of educator and shine a light on the individuals who are guiding and inspiring our most valuable asset – our students, our future," said First Lady Valerie Sununu. "Teaching is a multifaceted and dynamic profession by design, and it demands a lot of problem solving on the part of legislators, school board members, the state Department of Education, administrators, parents and community members. It's seldom that we as a State get an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the amazing and inspiring work that our best teachers achieve. Congratulations to all of the nominees, semi-finalists, and finalists for the selection of NH Teacher of the Year 2023. And, congratulations to Colonel Christian Cheetham. Our state is lucky to have you and we are thrilled to celebrate and share your journey and vision for education." 

New Hampshire ranks as one of the nation's best state for education and overall child wellbeing, according to a recently released report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

"New Hampshire's public schools are some of the best in the country, and that's largely thanks to the amazing educators like Christian Cheetham who work tirelessly day after day," said Governor Chris Sununu. "Mr. Cheetham is known for putting students first, focused on meeting their needs and opening as many doors of opportunity as possible. A well-deserved recognition!"


Note: A copy of the New Hampshire Department of Education's full release can be found below.


Educator from Alvirne High named 2023 NH Teacher of the Year

Concord, NH — Christian Cheetham, a teacher at Alvirne High School in Hudson, was named New Hampshire's 2023 Teacher of the Year during a surprise celebration on Monday.

Selected from a pool of 44 nominees, Cheetham was chosen for his exceptional teaching skills and profound dedication to his students. He will now serve as an ambassador for all of the excellent teachers throughout the state, and will be in the running for the National Teacher of the Year.

Colonel Cheetham has taught at Alvirne High School and the Wilbur H. Palmer Career and Technical Education Center for about seven years, and currently oversees the Air Force Junior ROTC elective course program for grades 9-12. The former Air Force officer says his classroom culture centers around teamwork, good manners, community service and mutual respect, while also pushing students beyond their comfort zone to instill resiliency and universal skills needed in today's world.

"Colonel Cheetham has shown exemplary leadership abilities throughout his time as a teacher, and his commitment to excellence in education is obvious to those students who have had the pleasure of sitting in his classroom," said Frank Edelblut, education commissioner. "He continues to teach students that today's world is full of opportunities, and we commend his passion for collaborative teaching, taking on new initiatives and recognizing that all students are worthy."

Principal Steve Beals of Alvirne High described Cheetham as a man with integrity, leadership and exceptional communication skills who has been an integral part of the school and community. "Chris is a wonderful leader with an infectious ability to share stories about his distinguished military career, support colleagues in and out of school, and support, through multiple service activities, our local American Legion and VFW organizations," said Beals.

In his application essay, Cheetham wrote, "I think kids and adults are desperate for real experiences. Technology is robbing us of our humanity and I strive every day to bring the humanity back…In my opinion, our students are desperate for real mentoring relationships." He went on to state that his true motivation is to teach students how to live their lives in ways that truly make them happy.

In December, the semi-finalists, finalists and Cheetham will be invited to a Leadership in Education Banquet to celebrate their accomplishments along with other distinguished educators in the state.

"The selection committee was overwhelmed with the high-caliber teachers considered for this award. New Hampshire is lucky to have such a devoted group of educators who are making a difference in the lives of our youth," said Christine Brennan, deputy commissioner of education.  

Valerie Sununu, New Hampshire's First Lady and member of the Teacher of the Year Selection Committee, congratulated all of the finalists and Colonel Cheetham, explaining New Hampshire is lucky to share and celebrate his journey and vision for education. "The New Hamsphire Teacher of the Year (program) is a precious space where we elevate the profession of educator and shine a light on the individuals who are guiding and inspiring our most valuable asset – our students, our future," said Sununu.