Honoring Great Teachers

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is honoring great teaching. This week, I had the pleasure of naming the 2013 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

This was hard work for the state judges who had the difficult task of choosing between 12 very qualified candidates.

The final selection was Elaine Hutchison, a teacher in Fairview Public Schools. She teaches Algebra II, trigonometry, pre-calculus and AP calculus at Fairview High School and Chamberlain Middle School. She also teaches at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics Regional Center.

Elaine is married to a science teacher. She drew a laugh when she said she guessed this is the year that geek is chic.

I was excited as I heard Elaine address the gathering at the State Fair. She brings phenomenal ideas that all educators can embrace.

She spoke about having a balance between high tech and high touch -- to ensure we are using cutting-edge technology to engage and motivate students. Elaine related that she is thrilled by recent developments in classroom technology, but she is equally personally involved in her student's lives.

She said she strives to teach students not what to think but how to think, which develops higher level thinking skills.

Elaine uses hands-on techniques, which reach those students who might not learn in traditional ways.

Elaine brings 19 years of experience to the table. She'll be traveling the state during the next year to speak to other classroom teachers and civic groups to be our “Ambassador of Teaching.” She'll represent our state in the National Teacher of the Year competition in the spring.

I know our state's students will be the beneficiaries of Elaine's knowledge.

Congratulations to Elaine and to the other very worthy finalists. I'd also like to say a big thank you to our many generous sponsors who shower our finalists and our Teacher of the Year with many gifts, cash and scholarships. We could not reward our Teacher of the Year in a proper way without such support.

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Last updated on September 21, 2012