2022 Teacher of the Year Finalists announced


Press Release State Seal  

Carrie Burkhart
Director of Communications
(405) 521-3371, c: (405) 760-7881
carrie.burkhart@sde.ok.gov

Erin Corbin
Communications Specialist
(405) 521-3375
erin.corbin@sde.ok.gov

Annette Price
Communications Specialist
(405) 521-6647
annette.price@sde.ok.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

2022 Teacher of the Year Finalists announced 

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 26, 2021) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister today announced the 12 finalists for Oklahoma’s next Teacher of the Year.  

“These 12 educators represent some of the best teaching talent in Oklahoma,” said Hofmeister. “These finalists are exceptional examples of the tremendous impact one person can make in the lives of kids. Each one of these teachers demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to the success of each of their students and are highly deserving of this honor.”  

All finalists were named teachers of the year for their districts or schools and selected after their applications were reviewed by a panel of educators, lawmakers and civic leaders.   

The 2022 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year will be named in March. Beginning July 1, the honoree will assume full-time Teacher of the Year duties, which include speaking engagements and serving as Oklahoma’s ambassador for teachers, encouraging others to enter or remain in the profession. The 2021 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, Jessica Eschbach, will continue touring the state until July.  

Hofmeister was joined by the finalists during an announcement this morning at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. 

2022 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year finalists

Shannon Altom  

Shannon Altom, 11th Grade English Language Arts Teacher
Bixby High School 
(Bixby Public Schools)
 
"My basic philosophy of teaching is that every student has the ability to learn and to reach the best possible outcome for themselves. They will thrive if met with the encouragement to try, a sincerity of purpose, a sense of humor to lighten the atmosphere, and a mutually respectful relationship. This is the environment I strive to create in my classroom every day. 

Tina Dewey  

Tina DeweySpecial Education Teacher
L.W. Westfall Elementary School 
(Choctaw/Nicoma Park Public Schools)
 
"Every child is different physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually. It is imperative that we, as teachers, work to both understand and appreciate these differences. We must teach in accordance with these differences to reach every student and help them succeed." 

Emily Friese  

Emily FreiseSpeech Language Pathologist
Greenwood Elementary School 
(Tahlequah Public Schools)
 
"I believe that some of the greatest contributions I have made in the field of education fall into two categories: helping students build life-long communication skills and training future educators. It is a blessing to work with students in elementary and help them build effective communication skills that will last them the rest of their lives.  

Kerry Ingersoll  

Kerry IngersollKindergarten Teacher
Bethel Lower Elementary School
 (Bethel Public Schools)
 
Teaching today is so much more than curriculum and grades. So many of our students are coming to us hurting and broken. While it may not be our job to heal their hurts and break generational trauma, it is our job to love and lead with high expectation. It is our job to speak life into children so we can light their world with new opportunities.”  

Cindy Johnson  

Cindy Johnson10th-12th Grade Mathematics Teacher
Collinsville High School 
(Collinsville Public Schools)
 
There are many rewards in teaching! One is hearing my students mention that they enjoy coming to my classroom. I strive to make my students’ time a comfortable experience every day. I want them to know that I am always here for them no matter what they need. Greater rewards are seeing my students graduate and move on to being successful in the world.

Rebecka Peterson  

Rebecka Peterson, 10th-12th Grade Mathematics Teacher
Union High School 
(Union Public Schools)
 
Teaching high school was never part of the plan. This job found me, not the other way around. However, aside from my family, this job offered me my life’s greatest gift: It revealed my purpose and exposed a passion I cannot deny. I feel alive when I am with my students. I love who I am when I am with them. This job is my calling.”   

Juan Renteria, Jr.  

Juan Renteria, Jr.Fifth Grade Teacher
Truman Elementary School 
(Norman Public Schools)
 
As teachers, it is so important that we highlight the power of inclusivity and collaboration. These two core values work hand-in-hand and serve to positively affirm the identity of our students while bringing greater value to our collaborative efforts despite any cultural, political, religious or socioeconomic differences.”  

Donna Ross  

Donna RossFourth Grade Teacher
McKinley Elementary School
 (Tulsa Public Schools)
 
My love for teaching causes me to create an environment that is filled with energy. Every day’s an adventure filled with learning for my students and me. While presenting a lesson, I become just as entertaining as my competition – television, video games, iPad and social media. My love for the job re-energizes the learning culture of my classroom.”  

Shelly Self  

Shelley SelfNinth-12th Grade Art Teacher
Coweta High School 
(Coweta Public Schools)
 
We have to find new, innovative ways to engage our students and provide the means to provide motivation along with learning. We live in a digital world, and we must embrace and bridge these learning gaps. We have to provide opportunities to explore with both new and traditional methods. Teachers need to become collaborators with their students and help them find the passion and confidence for success.” 

Kortni Torralba  

Kortni TorralbaTherapeutic Educator
Moore Alternative School and Treatment 
(Moore Public Schools)
 
I want to be an inspiration for my students, especially the child for whom everyone else has exhausted all possibilities. While I may not have always planned to be a teacher, from the moment I stepped in the classroom, I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.”  

Sheila Treadwell  

Sheila TreadwellPre-Kindergarten Teacher
John D. Moeller Primary School 
(Snyder Public Schools)
 
My greatest accomplishments are about three feet tall and cannot wait to come back to school the next day to see what fun things we will learn about. I call these accomplishments my PreK kids! I want my students to have fun learning, feel loved, be confident, take risks and have compassion for others. When this happens, I have made a huge impact on their learning.”

Lauren Vandever  

Lauren Vandever, Seventh Grade Reading Teacher
Bristow Middle School 
(Bristow Public Schools)
 
Teaching is like climbing a mountain. We have to rely on our own strength to get to the peak, but we also have to be willing to care for the mountain on our way to the top to create a rewarding experience for those who come next. 

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Last updated on November 1, 2021