(Oklahoma City) Sept. 17, 2013 - State Superintendent Janet Barresi recognized five Rising Star Teachers from across the state during Tuesday’s state Teacher of the Year Ceremony. Rising Stars are teachers who have been in the classroom seven years or less but who show an amazing amount of promise in their profession.
“These teachers have already demonstrated a great deal of effectiveness in helping their students achieve academic success,” Barresi said. “I’m happy today to recognize the potential each brings in helping to prepare Oklahoma students for college, career and citizenship readiness.”
Rising Stars were named a Teacher of the Year for their district. They are selected based on portfolios reviewed by the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year regional selection committees. The judges are made up of award-winning teachers, past Teachers of the Year and past finalists and PTA members.
This year’s Rising Star Teachers are:
- Byron Church, a 7th- and 8th-grade band teacher from Highland West Junior High School in the Moore School District. He is a National Board Certified Teacher. He has been in his present position seven years with seven years total experience. His philosophy of teaching is “an outstanding teacher is one who is capable and willing to adjust to the complexities of each individual student while ensuring student accountability.”
- Chad Brooking, a 7th- and 8th-grade science teacher at North Rock Creek Middle School in the North Rock Creek School District. He has been in his current position 1 year with five years total experience. His teaching philosophy is “I treat all students as though they were my own children, no matter their religion, ethnicity, or social class; this means I will be their toughest critic. I am preparing my students for more than the end-of-instruction test, or the next science class, I am preparing them for life.”
- Heather Meldrum, a fifth-grade teacher at Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village in the Oklahoma City School District. She is in the process of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher. Meldrum has been in her present position three years with seven years of total experience. Her philosophy of teaching is that “an outstanding teacher is one who works tirelessly to show love and encouragement to all students and bridge the relationships between families and school.”
- Lori Freymuth, a pre-kindergarten and second-grade teacher at Greenwood Elementary School in the Tahlequah School District. She has taught for one year in her present position and four years total. Her philosophy of teaching is, “I believe the three most important qualities a teacher can possess are (1) having a positive and passionate attitude, (2) a dedication and willingness to do whatever it takes, and (3) ability to be an amazing communicator and relationship builder.”
- Carrie Reese, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Briarglen Elementary School in the Union School District.
She has taught in her present position for six years with six years total experience. Her philosophy of teaching is, “I believe that teachers serve as a coach to students in any ways. One of the roles as a coach is to help students set goals for themselves both personally and academically. It is important, however, that students are involved in what they are learning and that they take ownership of that learning.”
Rising Star winners don’t know they’ve been selected until the day of the Teacher of the Year ceremony.
In addition to recognition at the Teacher of the Year ceremony, Rising Star Teachers each receive more than $1,000 in cash and other prizes from the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Schools Insurance Group, the Oklahoma Education Association, Professional Oklahoma Educators, SMART Technologies and the Oklahoma Historical Society.