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Nine Finalists Named for OKCPS Teacher of the Year

OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 12, 2020) - The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools and Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) have named the nine finalists for OKCPS Teacher of the Year.

The 2020 finalists are:

  • Michelle Cheney, Kaiser Elementary, 3rd Grade Teacher
  • Leslie Davis, Cleveland Elementary, 1st Grade Teacher
  • Amanda Girdler, Taft Middle School, 5th Grade Math and Science Teacher
  • Mary (Katy) Hamilton, Johnson Pre-K Center, SPED Pre-K Teacher
  • Danielle Hubble, Wheeler Middle School, SPED English Language Arts Teacher
  • Laura Hughes, Heronville Elementary, Pre-K Teacher
  • Lee Peacock Jones, Van Buren Elementary, Library Media Specialist
  • Angela Peake, Coolidge Elementary, SPED/ID Teacher
  • Jennifer Sinclair, Nichols Hills Enterprise Elementary, Kindergarten Teacher

The finalists will be recognized at the Stars of Education celebration, which will take place on May 7, 2020 at the Historic Oklahoma Farmers Public Market, located at 311 S Klein in Oklahoma City. During the ceremony, finalists will receive a combined total of more than $7,000 in cash awards from The Foundation for OKCPS, and the district Teacher of the Year will be announced.

The selection process began last fall when each school site selected a Teacher of the Year candidate. Each site Teacher of the Year was then able to submit a nomination packet to be considered for OKCPS Teacher of the Year. A committee comprised of OKCPS educators and administrators anonymously evaluated all candidates. The results from their evaluations secured the nine OKCPS Teacher of the Year finalists through specified rating criteria. Now that the nine finalists have been identified, the selection committee will review video filmed in their classroom setting and will also conduct personal interviews to determine the winner. The 2020 OKCPS Teacher of the Year will be recognized at the Stars of Education event on May 7th will then serve as the district's candidate for Oklahoma State Teacher of the Year.

"These nine educators were selected because of their extraordinary efforts to impact and improve the lives of our students. The hard work they display hasn't gone unnoticed and I am so honored to celebrate and recognize these amazing individuals for their commitment to the teaching profession and the students of OKCPS,” said Dr. Sean McDaniel, OKCPS Superintendent of Schools.

The Foundation for OKCPS hosts the Stars of Education ceremony each spring to celebrate teachers and outstanding achievement throughout the district. In addition to OKCPS Teacher of the Year, cash awards will also be presented to honorees for exceptional support staff and Volunteers, as well as for three categories of Community Partner of the Year. Two outstanding OKCPS principals will receive The Sam and Charolet Shirley Outstanding Principal Awards and will receive cash awards at the event, one from an elementary school and one from a secondary school.

“Our teachers play such a significant role in the lives of our students. Recognizing them for the work they do is an honor for us,” said Foundation President/CEO Mary Mélon. “The Stars of Education event is one of my favorite nights of the year as we also celebrate principals with the Sam and Charolet Shirley Outstanding Principal Awards, as well as support staff, volunteers and community partners enriching our schools every day.”

The OKCPS Teacher of the Year has been named Oklahoma Teacher of the Year three times since 2000 – Talita DeNegri in 2001, Robyn Hilger in 2006 and Heather Sparks in 2009.  Last year’s OKCPS Teacher of the Year was Christina Kirk, an 8th grade English Language Arts and AVID teacher.