Oklahoma’s Teacher of the Year among four finalists for National Teacher of the Year award

Oklahoma City (Jan. 12, 2016)  An Oklahoma teacher is one step closer to receiving the profession's highest honor.  Shawn Sheehan of Norman High School today was named one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award.

“I'm honored and humbled,” said Sheehan, who is a specialized education algebra teacher. “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 has taught at Norman High School for five years and has found success by implementing a customized "flipped classroom," which allows students to study engaging video segments at home and bring the discussions back to class.

“Shawn always approaches his work by first asking himself how he can build stronger connections with his students and present information in ways they find relevant," said Dr. Scott Beck, Norman High’s principal. "Shawn embodies everything a principal seeks in a public educator."

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.

“Shawn’s passion and commitment to advancing the profession of teaching is apparent," said Norman Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano. "He is a tremendous ambassador for education, and his work has and will make a significant impact in teacher recruitment and retention in Norman and beyond."

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).

Click here to see a video about Shawn's Journey to the Top.



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Last updated on January 12, 2016