Regional University System of Oklahoma Leads Teacher of the Year Nominations

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Most of this year’s nominees for the State Teacher of the Year Award graduated from Regional University System of Oklahoma institutions, the state’s traditional teacher education schools.

“Seven of the 12 nominees earned degrees from one of our six universities,” Regent Chairman Richard Ogden said. “Since voters included these schools in our constitution as a vital part of the state’s vision for the future, we have recognized the importance of education and of dynamic teachers for Oklahoma’s growth and well-being.”

Some 87 percent of the system’s graduates stay in Oklahoma and return almost $10 in benefits for every $1 of state resources spent on the students’ education, Ogden said.

“That’s an enviable return on investment. Leading the list of nominees shows this investment produces great results for the children of our state and the future of our people,” he said.

The system’s graduates nominated for teacher of the year include Therese Rawlinson, who earned both her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master of education degree in reading education from Northeastern State University. She teaches at Jane Phillips Elementary in Bartlesville.

NSU also graduated Jentri Guinn with a bachelor’s degree in education. She teaches at Porter High School in Porter.

Tera Landrum received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from NSU and teaches at Oak Crest Elementary in Broken Arrow.
“Northeastern State University prepares educators who are teaching scholars, educational leaders and developers of human potential. We believe it is important to empower others to believe in themselves and their capacity to achieve their goals,” Deborah Landry, dean of Northeastern’s College of Education, said.

“Northeastern is very proud of Therese, Jentri and Tera and their significant contributions to the education of pre-kindergarten through senior high students,” Landry said.

Mara Richards received a master’s degree in library media from East Central University after completing her bachelor’s degree in biology from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She teaches at Durant Middle School in Durant.

“When asked to reflect on her education at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Mara Richards said, ‘It was the professors at Southeastern who exposed me to the wonders and awes of teaching.’  Southeastern has a one hundred and four year history of exposing our students to the ‘wonders and awes of teaching’ together with scholarship and leadership,” Lucretia Scoufos, SOSU’S dean of instruction, said. 

“A remarkable teacher of physical science and an extraordinary community leader in Durant, Mara is an excellent example of Southeastern’s outstanding alumni,” Scoufos said.

ECU also graduated Susan Rindal, who earned a master’s degree in reading education. She teaches at Vanoss Elementary School in Vanoss.

“At ECU we have adopted a continuous improvement model that utilizes input from parents, employers and other stakeholders, as well as assessment data to ensure our programs are effective. Mara and Susan’s successes in the classroom show our graduates are prepared for the challenges of teaching,” Brenda Walling, dean of ECU’s College of Education and Psychology, said.

“They continue East Central’s long, proud history of preparing outstanding teachers,” Walling said.

Chelsea Roberts earned a master’s degree in history from Northwestern Oklahoma State University. She teaches at Woodward Middle School in Woodward.

“Northwestern Oklahoma State University is very proud of Chelsea Roberts for being name one of the 12 finalists for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year,” Bo Hannaford, Dean of NWOSU’s School of Professional Studies, said. “We are excited that Northwestern played a part in Chelsea’s preparation as an outstanding educator.”

“We have a long tradition in preparing teachers who work hard every day in the classroom to ensure that every student has the opportunity to fulfill their own dreams and aspirations and Ms. Roberts certainly fills that role,” he said.

Barbara Bayless earned a master’s degree in reading from the University of Central Oklahoma. She teaches at James Griffith Intermediate School in Choctaw.

“Reading is foundational for learning. We are proud of the work Ms. Bayless does with her reading students, as we are of the many truly exceptional teachers who have come through our educator preparation program,” James Machell, dean of UCO’s College of Education and Professional Studies, said. “We know they are making a positive difference in the lives of young people and families in the communities they serve.”

The Regional University System of Oklahoma is composed of ECU, UCO, NSU, NWOSU, SOSU, and Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

The state’s teacher of the year will be announced at the Oklahoma State Fair later this month. The winner will take part in the national teacher of the year competition and serve as Oklahoma’s “ambassador of teaching,” Ogden said.

Published: 9/6/2013 11:25:17 AM

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