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ELEVATE: Shawn Sheehan's journey to the top

When Shawn Sheehan became a teacher five years ago; he never imagined his name would be on a list to meet the President of the United States. The Norman High School specialized education algebra teacher was named Oklahoma’s 2016 Teacher of the Year in August; today he was chosen as one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award.

I'm honored and humbled,” said Sheehan.  “To potentially represent our state at the national level means the world to me, especially during the current climate surrounding education. I’ve always tried to represent our profession with optimism, pride, and respect, and now that I am a national finalist, I’m eager to carry the torch for all the dedicated, hard-working educators in our state and country.”

Since being named Oklahoma’s Teacher of the Year in August, Sheehan has traveled the state speaking with future educators about the profession. One of his many goals is to shine a positive light on teaching. His Teach Like Me campaign, which he debuted in 2013, is a personal teacher recruitment vehicle that encourages others to join the profession. 

“Shawn is an extraordinary teacher with the heart and passion to change lives," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. "His innovative teaching style and desire to bring others into the teaching profession is what every school district needs. I could not be more proud of Shawn and his accomplishments, and I’m excited his talent is being recognized at the national level.“

Sheehan will travel to Washington, D.C., in February, where he and the other three finalists will go through rigorous interviews with the selection committee. The other finalists are from California, Connecticut and Washington state. 

The President of the United States will recognize the National Teacher of the Year in a White House ceremony this spring.

It has been more than fifty years since an Oklahoma educator was named National Teacher of the Year. Past recipients include Edna Donley of Alva High School (1959) and Lawana Trout of Charles Page High School in Sand Springs (1964). 


Elevate | Oklahoma Schools On The Rise
A series presented by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, ELEVATE chronicles the positive, innovative and inspiring things happening in Oklahoma’s K-12 public education.


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Last updated on October 4, 2018