12 finalists for 2020 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year announced

OKLAHOMA CITY – The 12 finalists for Oklahoma’s next Teacher of the Year were announced Tuesday at a ceremony by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister.

“These 12 individuals represent the highest standard of education in our state and are exceptional examples of the tremendous impact one person can make in the lives of kids,” said Hofmeister. “Their use of innovative instructional strategies and their demonstrated ability to forge meaningful relationships with students and families demonstrate their commitment to the success of every child in their classroom. We are proud of their success, and they are deserving of this important honor.”

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, “all finalists were named teachers of the year for their respective districts and selected after their application packets were reviewed by a panel of educators, legislators and members of business and nonprofit organizations.”

The 2020 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year will be named Sept. 17 in a ceremony at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.

Starting July 1, 2020, the honoree will assume full-time Teacher of the Year duties, which include speaking engagements and serving as Oklahoma’s teacher ambassador, encouraging others to enter or remain in the profession.

Becky Oglesby, of Yukon, the 2019 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, will continue to tour the state until July 2020.

The 2020 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year finalists are:

  • Cara Bowerman
    • Bowerman teaches visual arts at Edmond North High School in Edmond Public Schools. She has been an educator for six years and has held her current position all six years.

Cara Bowerman

  • Debbie Carlisle
    • Carlisle teaches English at Clinton High School in Clinton Public Schools. She has been an educator for 34 years and has held her current position for 30 years.

Debbie Carlisle

  • Kirbey Dietzel
    • Dietzel teaches fifth-grade math and science at Jenks East Intermediate School in Jenks Public Schools. She has been an educator for eight years and has held her current position for six years.

Kirbey Dietzel

  • Terri Guthridge
    • Guthridge is an English teacher at Grove High School in Grove Public Schools. She has been an educator for 20 years and has held her current position for eight years.

Terri Guthridge

  • Lesa Hefner
    • Hefner teaches career readiness at Duncan High School in Duncan Public Schools. She has been an educator for eight years and has held her current position for two years.

Lesa Hefner

  • Elizabeth Hoggatt
    • Hoggatt teaches English at Norman High School in Norman Public Schools. She has been an educator for 10 years and has held her current position for all 10 years.

Elizabeth Hoggatt

  • Patricia Lightfoot
    • Lightfoot teaches sixth-grade reading at Weatherford Middle School in Weatherford Public Schools. She has been an educator for 37 years and has held her current position for 13 years.

Patricia Lightfoot

  • Jena Nelson
    • Nelson teaches English at Deer Creek Middle School in Deer Creek Schools. She has been an educator for 14 years and has held her current position for two years.

Jena Nelson

  • Michelle Rahn
    • Rahn teaches sixth-grade science at Will Rogers Middle School in Claremore Public Schools. She has been an educator for 11 years and has held her current position for three years.

Michelle Rahn

  • Kari Rhoden
    • Rhoden teaches Pre-K at Oologah Lower Elementary in Oologah-Talala Public Schools. She has been an educator for 24 years and has held her current position for five years.

Kari Rhoden

  • Cassandra Stauder
    • Stauder teaches science at Dewey High School in Dewey Public Schools. She has been an educator for 12 years and has held her current position for one year.

Cassandra Stauder

  • Katie Thompson
    • Thompson teaches kindergarten at the Shawnee Early Childhood Center in Shawnee Public Schools. She has been an educator for six years and has held her current position for all six years.

Katie Thompson

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