Rising Star teachers named at Teacher of the Year ceremony

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 16, 2014) — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi recognized six Rising Star Teachers from across the state during today’s state Teacher of the Year ceremony at the Oklahoma State Fair. Rising Stars are teachers who show an amazing amount of promise in their profession. They are selected in addition to the 12 finalists for the state Teacher of the Year.

Rising Stars with Superintendent Janet Barresi“It is an honor to recognize these teachers for the tremendous contributions they have made in the classroom and the promise they show for the future,” Barresi said. “Our students need teachers who think beyond the conventional bounds of education and who are interested in finding creative solutions so that each student can achieve his or her potential. These teachers show they are committed to making a brighter future for all their students.”

Rising Stars were named a Teacher of the Year for their respective districts. 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.

This year’s Rising Star Teachers are:

  • Kent Hathaway, a kindergarten through fourth-grade art teacher from Mustang Elementary School in the Mustang School District. His message to those in the teaching profession and the public is “all students regardless of age, intellect, or ability can experience success in learning science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Oklahoma educators will understand the integration and relationship in teaching these multiple subjects, and they will find that students achieve far more than they ever could in any subject alone.”
  • Kent Lee, a ninth-through 12th-grade U.S. history, economics and government teacher at Vanoss High School in the Vanoss School District. His teaching philosophy is “an outstanding teacher understands multiple learning styles and values life-long learning as part of his or her profession. Pursuing new learning opportunities that better shape teaching techniques is an integral part of being successful in the classroom. Outstanding teachers strive to become better each year by learning new strategies to better help their students succeed.”
  • Georgia Ramsey, a kindergarten teacher at Oologah Lower Elementary School in the Oologah-Talala School District. She said her teaching philosophy is “that engaging students in developmentally appropriate, meaningful tasks is vitally important. Off task behavior stems from frustration and boredom. I believe that teachers must use developmen­tally appropriate lessons to engage the students while still presenting them with an attainable goal to reach. Creating lessons where students have a real life connection gives them purpose for learning. Without purpose, their learning is meaningless.”
  • Susan Thompson, an eighth-grade vocational family and consumer sciences teacher at Owasso Eighth Grade Center in the Owasso School District. Her teaching philosophy is that “we, as teachers, hold the power to influence students in our classrooms each and every day! Think about that for a moment! We have the power to inspire, the power to train, the power to light a flame in a student that might spur them on to greatness! We teach because we love children. We teach because we want to make a difference in lives. We teach because we care!”
  • Anita West, a fourth-grade teacher at Elgin Elementary School in the Elgin School District. Her teaching philosophy is “teachers, parents, the community, and students themselves all have an obligation in regards to education. For the institution to be successful, each party must view education as important and vital. Without education, our society cannot thrive — not as individuals or as a whole.”
  • Meredith Ziegler, a pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade vocal music teacher at Wilson Arts Integration Elementary School in the Oklahoma City School District. “My philosophy of education centers around the idea that children need the arts just as they need to learn to read and write,” she said. “The arts are a form of literacy just like the ABCs. Students need the arts to teach them to think, to collabo­rate, and to develop a sense of empathy.”

In addition to recognition at the Teacher of the Year ceremony, Rising Star Teachers each receive $500 in cash from the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma, as well as gifts from the Oklahoma Education Association and Professional Oklahoma Educators.

Cutline: From left to right, the Rising Stars are Kent Lee, Susan Thompson, Georgia Ramsey, Anita West, Meredith Ziegler and Kent Hathaway with State Superintendent Janet Barresi.



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Last updated on September 17, 2014