Oklahoma Teacher of the Year

Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Program and logo

The Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Program is coordinated through the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Joy Hofmeister. The program is in conjunction with the National Teacher of the Year Program sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the ING Foundation.

The Oklahoma State Fair Board established the Edward C. Joullian III $5,000 Scholarship to be awarded to a high school senior in the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year’s school district. The scholarship winner is announced at the Oklahoma State Fair. This scholarship was established to encourage students to continue their education, recognize the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year’s school district, and celebrate the contributions of Mr. Joullian to the lives of Oklahoma’s young people.

Teacher of the Year Application

Teacher of the Year Request to Speak

Teacher of the
Year Blog

Teacher of the Year Ceremony Photos


2018-2019 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year

Donna Gradel

"Each student has potential – potential to learn regardless of where their starting point is. Students are interested in nature and science and discovery, and they have a very strong sense of purpose in their life. They want to make a difference, and they want to have an impact on their world."

Donna Gradel is an environmental science teacher at Broken Arrow Public Schools, was named Oklahoma’s 2018 Teacher of the Year at a ceremony at the State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.

Read more about Donna...

Congratulations, Donna Gradel!

- 2018 Press Release

- 2018 Finalists

- 2018 Ceremony Photos

- 2018 12 Finalist Videos

Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Topics


Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Program

Becky Oglesby - Teacher of the Year 2019Teacher of the Year 2019-2020
Becky Oglesby

Pre-K - Third grade
Ranchwood Elementary School
Yukon Public Schools.

Read her Press Release





General Qualifications

All Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 classroom teachers in state-accredited schools is eligible for nomination. It is important that every teacher is given the opportunity to participate in this recognition process. No minimum years of teaching experience are required to be qualified for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

Nominees should be exceptionally skillful and dedicated classroom teachers who are planning to continue in an active teaching status. According to the director of the National Teacher of the Year Program, a classroom teacher is one who teaches a group of students every day within the confines of the classroom and does not have administrative duties. Nominees should communicate effectively and demonstrate creative and imaginative teaching on a day-to-day basis. The nominee should have the ability to inspire the value of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities and assure academic success. Nominations should be made without regard to age, sex, race, or religion.


Selection Process

At the local district level, the Teacher of the Year program is coordinated through the district superintendent. It is the responsibility of the district superintendent to make sure that every teacher is given the opportunity to participate in the recognition process. It is important to emphasize that the search is not for “the best teacher,” but for one who exemplifies the finest in the profession.

Local District Selection Process

The local school district determines the local selection process and announces the local Teacher of the Year.

State Selection Committee

The state selection committee will follow procedures identified below for each of the twelve finalists to select the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

  • Conduct an interview
  • View a digital video file of classroom teaching. Each of the twelve regional finalists will be responsible for submitting a ten-minute digital video file of classroom teaching in early September. If the local district does not have taping capabilities, assistance will be provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Education (each finalist may view previous Oklahoma Teacher of the Year videos upon request)
  • Recommend the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year to the State Superintendent


Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Recognition

The Oklahoma Teacher of the Year serves as Oklahoma Ambassador of Teaching, representing Oklahoma in the national competition by sharing knowledge and resources with fellow educators around the state and encouraging education as a profession.


Edward C. Joullian III Scholarship

The $5,000 scholarship is awarded to a high school senior in the current Oklahoma Teacher of the Year’s district.


Former Oklahoma Teacher of the Year List

Year Name Year Name
2018 Donna Gradel, Broken Arrow    
2017 Jon Hazel, Durant 1984 Gwen Pasby, Elk City
2016 Shawn Sheehan, Norman 1983 Nancy O’Donnell, Perry
2015 Jason Scott Proctor, Tahlequah 1982 Kathlyn Reynolds, Putnam City
2014 Peter Markes, Edmond 1981 Alice Gregg, Okay
2013 Elaine Hutchison, Fairview 1980 Sherry Morgan, Sand Springs
2012 Kristin Shelby, Hollis 1979 Frances Herron, Altus
2011 Elizabeth Smith, Byng 1978 Pat Kellogg Roller, Ada
2010 Brian Grimm, Tulsa 1977 June Richardson, Duncan
2009 Heather Sparks, Oklahoma City 1976 Wilda Walker, Enid
2008 Stephanie Canada, Shawnee 1975 Maralene Wesner, Idabel
2007 Linda-Hasler Reid, Muskogee 1974 Valerie Carolina, Wewoka
2006 Robyn Hilger, Oklahoma City 1973 Frankie Minton, Lindsay
2005 Susan Illgen, Grove 1972 Vernice Ware, Bartlesville
2004 Cindy Ball, Muskogee 1971 Albert Clark, Enid
2003 James Kerr, Union 1970 Ruby Browning, Grove
2002 Mike Bynum, Sand Springs 1969 Trudy McFarland, Stillwater
2001 Talita DeNegri, Oklahoma City 1968 Edward Hennessee, Lawton
2000 Mitsuye Conover, Bartlesville 1967 Evelyn Findley Williamson, Oklahoma City
1999 Lynn Peacher, Jenks 1966 Helen Cosgrove, Norman
1998 Kay Long, Broken Arrow 1965 Sam Evans, Oklahoma College for Women
1997 George Abshire, Jenks 1964 Lawana Trout, Sand Springs
1996 Stephen Smallwood, Broken Bow 1963 Bona Gordey, Tulsa
1995 Linda Kay Webb, Broken Arrow 1962 Flossie Beckett, Lindsay
1994 Mary Jane Bassett, Woodward 1961 James Jenkins, Oklahoma City
1993 Betsy Mabry, Enid 1960 Mary Gillentine, Ron School
1992 Rhonda Harryman, Edmond 1959 Edna Donley, Alva
1991 Marilyn King, Stillwater 1958 Helen White, Duncan
1990 Eugene Earsom, Moore 1957 A.B. Herring, Prague
1989 Mike Adkins, Moore 1956 Mary Lawrence, Claremore
1988 Dale Long, Oologah-Talala 1955 Ethel Briggs, Barnsdall
1987 Geraldine Burns, Fairview    
1986 Jane Kennedy, Yukon    
1985 Barbara Smith, Miami    

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If you have any questions regarding the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year process; please contact:

Justin Newton

Oklahoma State Department of Education
(405) 522-8767

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Last updated on January 29, 2019