Educator of the Year Recipients

Each year the Arizona Fire and Burn Educators Association selects a Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year. Each individual awarded this honor has made significant contributions to Fire and Life Safety Education, demonstrated outstanding work as an educator, has been successful in increasing public awareness about safety issues, serves as a positive role model in their community and exhibits a commitment to excellence in their educational efforts.

Congratulations to all of our award winners!

2017 | Maureen Carney

Goodyear Fire Department

Maureen Carney was selected as the 2017 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year because of her untiring desire to learn and also her passion for serving her community. She is always pushing to do more and continues to prove her worth daily to her fire department and her community. She started her work with the fire department as a volunteer. She has said that she truly believes that helping others to understand the importance of fire and life safety is her calling.

She is a Community Risk Reduction Specialist, Fire and Life Educator I certified, Child Passenger Safety Technician and a certified CPR instructor. She wanted to learn more, so when asked if she wanted try characterization, she jumped at that request. She continues to utilize those skills during Fire Pal lessons. She partnered with APS Ben FranKlown program that reaches school age children in a fun interactive way of learning electrical and fire safety. Not only did Goodyear elementary students benefit from this wonderful program, she volunteered her time to ensure other students around the state learned the important fire and life safety messages when APS asked for her assistance.

In 2017, she wanted to better understand fire prevention and provide residents more information when asked. She attended and passed the Arizona Fire Inspector I course with the highest test score on the exam. Even after losing a part time educator at the department, she didn’t flinch at taking on new schools and other duties as assigned — at only works 19 hours a week.

She truly is a gift. Congrats, Maureen!

2016 | Kirk Webb

Timber Mesa Fire District

Since the creation of the Risk Manager position Kirk Webb has been able to dedicate at least 90 percent of his time to public education outreach and program development. He has been an active educator since 1995 and it truly is his passion. He is the go-to not just for Timber Mesa but other agencies that are cooperative partners as well. He serves his fire district and the residents within in addition to the entire White Mountain community educating in both Navajo and Apache counties.

Kirk works with the members of the Prevention Division and volunteer. He trains and coordinates to help with larger education events. He is an active participant in many organizations, AFBEA just being one of those many. He values fire prevention and strives to train those he works with to understand the value of community risk reduction and is always seeking new ways to spread the training, expertise and knowledge that he has while seeking more each year.

We celebrate Kirk as the 2016 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year!

2015 | Tina Gerola

Superstition Fire and Medical

We are proud to announce that Tina Gerola of Superstition Fire and Medical was named the 2014 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year for the State of Arizona at State Fire School on Sept. 10. In the words of her Fire Chief Paul Bourgeois… “Tina’s greatest accomplishments don’t come in the form of a certificate or an accolade you can hang on a wall. Rather, her greatest achievements as a professional educator are evidenced in the way she captures the hearts and minds of the people she touches. Tina is one of the most recognized members in our organization and across our community. People are constantly telling us how great of an instructor she is and how well she kept them engaged. Both kids and adults recognize her on the streets and love to come up and tell her how much they love her classes. Former students can recall her lessons years after the fact and it’s readily apparent that her work has an impact on people’s lives. Tina has a talent for engaging people and relating to them on such a personal level that her message resonates with them and leaves a lasting impression.”

2013 | Stacy Figueroa

Pine-Strawberry Fire District

2012 | Tanja Tanner

Goodyear Fire Department

2011 | Michele Long

Mesa Fire and Medical Services

2010 | Leilani Salazar

Rio Rico Fire District


2009 | Lori Schmidt

Scottsdale Fire Department

2008 | Jean Machnicki

Gilbert Fire Department

2007 | Carrie Castillo-Miller

Mesa Fire Department

2006 | Greg Hernandez

Green Valley Fire District


2005 | Tracy Koslowski

Drexel Heights Fire District

2004 |Sarah King

Casa Grande Fire Department

2003 | Linda Kmetz

Surprise Fire Department

2002 | Randy Ogden

Tucson Fire Department


2001 | Beverly Burns

Tempe Fire Department

Thank you to all of our past recipients!

If you are interested in nominating a future Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year please submit your nomination.