Norman teacher Shawn Sheehan named 2016 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year


 

OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 25, 2015) — Norman High School teacher Shawn Sheehan is the 2016 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister made the announcement during a ceremony at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. 

“I congratulate Mr. Sheehan on earning the honor of being Oklahoma’s next Teacher of the Year. Not only is he clearly a talented and motivated teacher, but he has shown his dedication to supporting the profession of teaching and the people who are called to follow it statewide,” Hofmeister said.

Sheehan teaches special education and Algebra I at Norman High School in Norman Public Schools. He has been there since his first day as a teacher four years ago. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in special education from the University of Oklahoma.

While participating in the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s (OSDE) OKMath and OKSci Leadership program in 2013, he launched a multimedia campaign to boost public perceptions of teaching and improve morale among educators titled “Teach Like Me.” 

As Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, Sheehan will receive use of an official Teacher of the Year car for a year. He will spend that year as Oklahoma’s teacher ambassador, traveling across the state to meet with education stakeholders and representing Oklahoma in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

Sheehan walking the halls of Norman High SchoolSheehan was selected by a panel of 21 state judges with education, business and community service backgrounds. He was one of 12 finalists previously named by a group of regional judges representing every part of the state.

“All of our finalists demonstrated an extraordinary level of talent, creativity and commitment to their students. Their schools are lucky to have them,” Hofmeister said. 

Fact sheets for each of the finalists are available on the OSDE website.

In a close decision, the judges named Amanda Bowser, a Title I math interventionist and learning coach at Oak Crest Elementary in Broken Arrow Public Schools, runner-up for the state title.

Sheehan, who got married earlier this summer, said he wants to shine a spotlight on teachers and their profession.

"I want to keep encouraging people to teach," he said. "I'm hoping really and truly to spark a renaissance in education in Oklahoma."

Sheehan succeeds 2015 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Jason Proctor, a math teacher and track coach at Tahlequah High School.

“I thank Mr. Proctor for all the time he has dedicated to elevate our schools during his time as Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. He has truly led by example, and I know he’s excited to be back in the classroom and alongside his student athletes on the track in Tahlequah,” Hofmeister said.

The OSDE also honored six “Rising Star” teachers — current district teachers of the year whom the regional judges felt deserved special recognition for their talent — were also honored at today’s ceremony, along with all local teachers of the year in attendance.

The Oklahoma Teacher of the Year program is organized by OSDE in conjunction with the national competition.

Many sponsors generously contributed to reward the finalists, Rising Stars and attending local teachers of the year. Gold-level sponsors include the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State Fair, Byford Auto Group, American Fidelity Assurance Company, Oklahoma Schools Insurance Group and SMART Technologies.

The annual celebration is typically held during the Oklahoma State Fair, but planned renovations forced the schedule change.

Photos courtesy of Shannon Cornman.

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Last updated on August 25, 2015