NORMAN, Okla. – It’s been a tumultuous year to be a teacher in Oklahoma.
In April, thousands of educators walked out of the classroom to attend a protest at the Oklahoma State Capitol in an effort to get better pay and increased school funding.
After their protest was called off by the Oklahoma Education Association, several teachers decided to leave the profession.
Many decided to go into the private sector, while dozens of others decided to run for public office.
Now, 12 teachers who remained in the classroom are being recognized as finalists for Oklahoma’s next ‘Teacher of the Year.’
“These 12 teachers represent some of Oklahoma’s finest educators who are making a difference in the lives of our students every day,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “We value their hard work, dedication to their craft and the commitment to excellence they demonstrate day in and day out. These men and women are doing important work to advance the development of our state through the growth and success of our children.”
The finalists are as follows:
- Catherine Adams- Teaches social and emotional skills, and bullying prevent to Pre-K through fourth grade at Piedmont Elementary School. She has been an educator for 29 years.
- Natalie Fielden- Teaches kindergarten at Freedom Elementary School in Sapulpa. She has been an educator for 18 years.
- Shari Gateley- Teaches 11th grade English language arts at Putnam City West High School. She has been an educator for seven years.
- Amy Greenhaw- Special education teacher at Jenks High School. She has been an educator for 16 years.
- Carol Hunsperger- Teaches third grade at Grove Lower Elementary School. She has been an educator for 22 years.
- Teresa Lansford- Teacher librarian for Pre-K through fifth grade at Lincoln Elementary School in Norman. she has been an educator for 14 years.
- Jenny Morphis- Teaches first grade at Hilldale Lower Elementary School in Hilldale. She has been an educator for 19 years.
- Warren Neff- Teaches physics and STEM mathematics at Bartlesville High School. He has been an educator for 15 years.
- Rebecca Oglesby- Teaches Pre-K through third grade art at Ranchwood Elementary School in Yukon. She has been an educator for seven years.
- Jessica Robinson- Teaches AP literature and social studies at Altus High School. She has been an educator for six years.
- Michelle Shelton- Teaches fifth-grade reading and English language arts at Pioneer Intermediate School in Noble. She has been an educator for nine years.
- V. Jannean Thompson- Teaches fifth grade at Berryhill North Elementary School in Berryhill. She has been an educator for 24 years.
The 2019 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year will be named on Sept. 18 at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.