PROVIDENCE – Aimee Couto, an elementary educator in the East Providence School District, was named the 2024 Rhode Island Teacher of the Year by the R.I. Department of Education on Tuesday.
Gov. Daniel J. McKee and Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos, along with other state and education leaders, visited Emma G. Whiteknact Elementary School to surprise Couto with the honor.
“Both my mother and my sister are educators, and I know that every amazing day that Aimee provides her students is the product of a long night of working, preparing and planning,” Matos said. “But 180 days a year, she comes in ready to give her students a unique and engaging learning experience. We are so excited to have her voice representing educators across the state for the next year.”
Couto serves as a leader in many capacities within both her school and the East Providence district, where she has taught both first and fourth grade for the past 12 years. Couto began her career in education teaching preschool through second grade before joining the East Providence School District.
The veteran educator helps guide various programs centered around positive social and emotional development at Whiteknact, serves on the school improvement team, and is the district’s Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling facilitator.
Couto, who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Rhode Island and a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Rhode Island College, is a strong advocate for project-based learning and the science of reading after growing up labeled as a struggling reader.
“Aimee’s tireless efforts in nurturing a love for literacy have not only enriched the lives of her students but have also set them on a lifelong path of exploration and self-discovery. Her ability to unlock the wonders of language and inspire young minds to find their voice is truly remarkable,” said R.I. Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green.
As Teacher of the Year, Couto will work with RIDE throughout the 2023-2024 school year to support education statewide, including strengthening professional development and engaging classrooms. She is also eligible to represent Rhode Island as the National Teacher of the Year.