TPS announces Teacher of the Year finalists


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Updated: 3/08/2013 10:23 am Published: 3/08/2013 10:21 am


Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard surprised five teachers in their classrooms Wednesday to tell each of them they are finalists for the district’s 2013 Teacher of the Year.

The five finalists are:
  • Natalie Gould, second grade teacher at Grissom Elementary: Gould started teaching at Grissom in August 2006. She became a teacher because she wanted to be the teacher she needed when she was in school – one who cared enough to help a child succeed despite being diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD in 1st grade. Gould was influenced by her parents. Her father was a therapist and her mother a teacher at Key and Patrick Henry elementaries who was excited about what she taught. Gould has been told she frustrates her colleagues because of the high standards she sets for herself and her students.
  • Katherine Holland, geography teacher at Clinton Middle School: Holland has taught 7th grade Geography at Clinton since November 1998. Also a child of a teacher, her desire to teach was sparked by her mother’s love for education. Her love of children keeps her motivated. After a friend’s 12-year-old son committed suicide, Holland co-created the Self-Acceptance Is Life (SAIL) program aimed at preventing teen suicide. She is a mentor to new teachers and never stops fine-tuning her own teaching skills. 
  • Kevin Pearson, vocal music teacher at East Central Junior High School: Pearson began as vocal music teacher at East Central Junior High, then known as Foster Middle School, in August 2008. He is known as a “music snob” among his colleagues and is passionate about the music he infuses into his lessons. His intent is to deliver a worthwhile, horizon broadening, musical experience to his students. Pearson believes learning new avenues of teaching not only improves himself but his students. His goal is to maintain the dignity of educators and to proclaim the amazing things that happen in classrooms and in students’ lives.
  • Kris Sells, kindergarten teacher at MacArthur Elementary: Sells started with TPS in February 2008 and has taught pre-k through 1st grade at Hawthorne, Roosevelt, Greeley and MacArthur elementaries. Sells comes from a family of educators: both her parents are public school teachers and her siblings also all teach. She believes learning is precious and a good teacher is imperative to students’ success. She is a member of the Oklahoma Education Association and the National Education Association and dedicated to promoting teaching and learning. 
  • Dr. Linnea VanEman, gifted and talented teacher at Zarrow International School: VanEman has been the gifted education coordinator at Zarrow since August 2009, although she started teaching at a very young age – giving lessons to her dolls, dog and little brother. Her experiences with inspiring teachers and teachers without much passion for their subjects led her to choose education as a career. VanEman says she is always a student first and a teacher second. She practices what she teaches and loves learning, discovering and experiencing new ideas and sharing that love with others.
The winner will be announced at the annual employee banquet April 18.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

buckrider8 - 3/12/2013 8:54 PM
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Great news for TPS!! One local teacher responsible for 52 students conducted Parent / Teacher conferences recently. A whopping 14 total parents attended over a two day period. These parents will have the authority to fire a principal? What's wrong with this picture? It certainly was not like that when my children or I attended school. This is a pretty sad situation in today's education system. Thank you TPS for recognizing teacher excellence!!
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