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Cory Hafer named Delaware's 2024 State Teacher of the Year

Two men in suits shake hands in a large banquet hall filled with people.
Sarah Petrowich
Delaware Public Media
Delaware's 2024 State Teacher of the Year Cory Hafer shakes hands with Jostens Senior Sales Representative Kevin Zeigler after receiving a Teacher of the Year ring.

Cory Hafer of Appoquinimink School District is named Delaware’s 2024 State Teacher of the Year.

Hafer was selected from a pool of 20 candidates following a two-phase judging process that includes a written application and an observation period by members of Delaware’s Department of Education and former State Teachers of the Year.

Hafer is an engineering and science teacher at Middletown High and looks forward to advocating for members of the education community.

“I am just really excited to represent my students’ voices and teachers’ voices in Delaware on a larger national scale," he said.

He plans to use his position to promote the importance of building student connections and utilizing restorative practices when disciplining in the classroom.

“Everyone kind of talked about that idea that building connections and creating an educational space where students are excited to learn and connected with the real world is going to lead to really meaningful education. So I'm very honored to represent the state of Delaware," he said in his acceptance speech.

Hafer has taught science and engineering for 11 years, joining Middletown’s staff in 2019.

He earned a Bachelor of Science in molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts in biology teaching from Columbia University.

He will receive a $5,000 grant to use for the educational benefit of his students, as well as two personal grants totaling an additional $5,000.

Hafer will also be Delaware’s candidate for national Teacher of the Year.

Before residing in Dover, DE, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending 8 years in Fairbanks, AK, ten years in Carbondale, IL and 4 years in Indianapolis, IN. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.