ATU Alumna Selected Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Capri Salaam Arkansas Teacher of the Year 2023

Arkansas Tech University alumna Capri Salaam was named the 2023 Arkansas teacher of the year by the Arkansas Department of Education on Friday, Oct. 14.

Salaam earned a Master of Arts in Teaching degree with an emphasis in middle school education from ATU in May 2016. She teaches social studies at North Little Rock Middle School.

Feedback from the selection committee stated Salaam was selected due to her “innovative teaching practices, her ability to connect with students from diverse backgrounds and her efforts to stay engaged with her students after they leave her classroom.”

As Arkansas teacher of the year, Salaam receives $15,000 through a sponsorship by the Walton Family Foundation and is eligible to become national teacher of the year.

“Ms. Salaam’s teaching skills, commitment to her students and love for the profession are reflected in her creative and innovative efforts to meet her students where they are,” said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “From establishing an inviting culture for students by organizing cultural events throughout the year to ensuring students have access in high school to ACT preparation programs, financial aid workshops and tutoring programs, Ms. Salaam’s dedication extends far beyond the time she engages with her students in the classroom. She is very deserving of this honor.”

Salaam has served as a multi-classroom lead teacher in the North Little Rock School District since 2018. She teaches and provides support in instructional practices and classroom management for other teachers. Salaam previously taught at Little Rock Preparatory Academy (2013-15) and seventh and eighth grade social studies in the North Little Rock School District (2015-18).

“I am extremely excited to recognize Ms. Salaam as the 2023 Arkansas teacher of the year,” said Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key, who presented the award at the ceremony. “Her ability to bring history to life through creative lessons, combined with her ongoing love of learning and professional growth, are reflected in her students’ success both in and out of the classroom. Ms. Salaam is the perfect person to receive this honor, and we look forward to working alongside her when she begins her tenure as teacher of the year.”

Salaam’s one-year tenure as Arkansas teacher of the year will begin July 1, 2023. During that time, she will travel the state representing teachers and promoting her platform. Her focus will be on improving the mental health of students and ongoing social-emotional learning. Salaam also will serve as a non-voting member on the Arkansas Board of Education.

To learn more about the Arkansas teacher of the year program, visit