OKLAHOMA CITY – A Yukon elementary school art teacher was named Oklahoma’s 2019 Teacher of the Year on Tuesday.
Becky Oglesby, nicknamed the “Batman Teacher,” teaches Pre-K through third grade at Ranchwood Elementary School in Yukon Public Schools.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said Oglesby’s creative teaching style, along with her optimism and passion for education, is a model of excellence for Oklahoma.
“Becky is a teacher who does not falter, no matter the circumstances. She demonstrates compassion and courage, and treasures her students, never failing to celebrate the individuality of each one,” Hofmeister said. “Often, our teachers are literal heroes. Becky Oglesby is proof of that.”
Oglesby was a second-year teacher at Plaza Towers Elementary in 2013 when the deadly ED-5 tornado tore through the Moore school, claiming the lives of seven students. She used her body to shield her first-graders as tornado destroyed the school.
“Any educator who truly has the heart of a teacher would have done the exact same thing given the opportunity,” Oglesby said. “My greatest contribution to education has been showing the world that teachers are more than babysitters worried about test scores. Your kids become our kids, and our priority is to create a safe learning environment where they can flourish.”
Oglesby earned the nickname “Batman Teacher” for the abundance of comic-book memorabilia in her classroom.
“Batman believed that one man could make a difference and took it upon himself to do so and in turn became a legend. I want to be Batman,” Oglesby said. “I want to be the ordinary person who puts on the mask that hides the simplicity of who I am and fights to give my students the best education that empowers them to find their purpose.”
In her art lessons, she incorporates core subject areas, provides the opportunity for students to express their uniqueness, emphasizes state academic standards and provides life lessons.
Oglesby will remain in her classroom for the current school year.
Starting July 1, 2019, she will take on full-time Teacher of the Year duties, which includes speaking engagements and serving as Oklahoma’s teacher ambassador, encouraging others to enter or remain in the profession. She will succeed 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Donna Gradel, an environmental science teacher from Broken Arrow High School, who will continue to tour the state until July.
A panel of more than 20 judges selected the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year after extensive interviews with the 12 finalists, themselves district Teachers of Year from across the state.