TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- Northeastern State University alumni Bridgette Smith of Bartlesville and Brandon Chitty of Broken Arrow were among six educators named Rising Star Teachers during the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year ceremony Sept. 18 in Oklahoma City.
Rising Stars are selected from district teachers of the year who are less than eight years into their careers. The six were recognized by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi.
“It is important that we honor the enthusiasm and the potential of these teachers,” Barresi said. “To be recognized by your peers after such a short time in the classroom is an amazing achievement. We are excited for the benefit these teachers will bring to Oklahoma students.”
Smith has spent four of the last five years teaching English at Bartlesville Mid-High School. She obtained an associate’s degree from Tulsa Community College before earning her bachelor's degree in secondary English education from NSU.
"One of the innovative things we do in the Bartlesville schools is we use a data team process," Smith said. "The teachers work in teams within the same grade and subject. We analyze data and remediate students based on that data. I believe that process has changed my teaching, and those of others, the most. We are able to teach students based on how well they understand the subject and it helps all of us look at each student individually."
Brandon Chitty has entered his sixth academic year as a science teacher at Centennial Middle School in Broken Arrow. He also attended TCC for his associate's degree before graduating from NSU withe a bachelor's degree in education.
"My classes are paperless because I know the students' future will look much different than today," he said. "I want to do something cutting-edge that engages students, so I manage my classes through Google Apps for Education. They can receive their assignments, work on them and turn them in on their computers. They are given e-mail addresses, so if they have a question they can send me an e-mail, my phone will buzz and I can help them from anywhere."
Smith and Chitty each acknowledged their educations at NSU as integral to their early career success as educators. Chitty called his time at Northeastern "amazing."
"Everybody was always kind and concerned with education," he said. "I don't remember a bad experience. In education, I really believe it is more important that one be taught how to teach students, rather than taught how to teach math. For me Steve Sargent (associate professor of curriculum and instruction at NSU-Broken Arrow) was very influential. He always took the extra time to encourage and inspire."
Smith said she gained insight on the importance attached to an NSU education when she took part in panels.
"I found out what principals like, or what they look for, and one think that impresses them is NSU graduates," she said. "They always told us that while I was attending Northeastern, but to see it from the other side was interesting. I am thankful for my time at NSU and for a school that continues to produce excellent teachers."
Rising Star educators each receive $1,000 and other prizes from numerous donors, including the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Schools Insurance Group, the Oklahoma Education Association and Professional Oklahoma Educators.
Other Rising Star teachers were Marcy Jack of the Ada Early Childhood Center, Mary Ann Campbell of Carnegie Public Schools, Andrea Tomlinson-Brown of Oklahoma City Millwood High School and Tara Fisher of Okeene High School.
For more information about the NSU College of Education call 918-444-3700 or visit nsuok.edu/education.
Published: 10/2/2012 12:58:40 PM