Yukon’s Becky Oglesby named 2019 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year


OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 18, 2018) – A Yukon elementary school art educator whose alter-ego as the Caped Crusader earned her the nickname the “Batman Teacher” is Oklahoma’s 2019 Teacher of the Year. Becky Oglesby teaches Pre-K through third grade at Ranchwood Elementary School in Yukon Public Schools.

Rebecca OglesbyState Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister made the announcement today in a ceremony at State Fair Park. Hofmeister said Oglesby’s creative teaching style, along with her optimism and passion for education, is a model of excellence for Oklahoma.

“Becky is a teacher who does not falter, no matter the circumstances. She demonstrates compassion and courage, and treasures her students, never failing to celebrate the individuality of each one,” Hofmeister said. “Often, our teachers are literal heroes. Becky Oglesby is proof of that.”

Oglesby was a second-year teacher at Plaza Towers Elementary in 2013 when a deadly EF-5 tornado tore through the Moore school and claimed the lives of seven students. At the height of the storm, she used her body to shield her first-graders as the twister destroyed the school.

The events of that day, she said, illustrate the dedication and compassion of Oklahoma’s teachers.

“Any educator who truly has the heart of a teacher would have done the exact same thing given the opportunity,” Oglesby said. “My greatest contribution to education has been showing the world that teachers are more than babysitters worried about test scores. Your kids become our kids, and our priority is to create a safe learning environment where they can flourish.”

Known in her school and community as the “Batman Teacher” for the abundance of comic-book memorabilia in her classroom, Oglesby identifies with ordinary people striving to do incredible things.

“Batman believed that one man could make a difference and took it upon himself to do so and in turn became a legend. I want to be Batman,” Oglesby said. “I want to be the ordinary person who puts on the mask that hides the simplicity of who I am and fights to give my students the best education that empowers them to find their purpose.”

In her art lessons, Oglesby incorporates core subject areas, provides the opportunity for students to express their uniqueness, emphasizes state academic standards and provides life lessons.

Oglesby will remain in her classroom for the current school year. Beginning July 1, 2019, she will assume full-time Teacher of the Year duties, which include speaking engagements and serving as Oklahoma’s teacher ambassador, encouraging others to enter or remain in the profession. She will succeed 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Donna Gradel, an environmental science teacher from Broken Arrow High School, who will continue to tour the state until July.

A panel of more than 20 judges selected the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year after extensive interviews with the 12 finalists, themselves district Teachers of Year from across the state. The Oklahoma Teacher of the Year program is organized by the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) in conjunction with the national competition.

The other 11 state Teacher of the Year finalists are as follows:

  • Catherine Adams, Piedmont Elementary School, Piedmont Public Schools
  • Natalie Fielden, Freedom Elementary School, Sapulpa Public Schools
  • Shari Gateley, Putnam City West High School, Putnam City Schools
  • Amy Greenhaw, Jenks High School, Jenks Public Schools
  • Carol Hunsperger, Grove Lower Elementary School, Grove Public Schools
  • Teresa Lansford, Lincoln Elementary School, Norman Public Schools
  • Jenny Morphis, Hilldale Lower Elementary School, Hilldale Public Schools
  • Warren Neff, Bartlesville High School, Bartlesville Public Schools
  • Jessica Robinson, Altus High School, Altus Public Schools
  • Michelle Shelton, Pioneer Intermediate School, Noble Public Schools
  • V. Jannean Thompson, Berryhill North Elementary School, Berryhill Public Schools

For more information about the finalists, visit http://sde.ok.gov/sde/teacher-of-the-year-finalists

Last updated on September 18, 2018