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NPS Announces Four Finalists For Teacher of the Year

Norman Public Schools announced this morning four finalists for 2015 district Teacher of the Year from a field of 25 site teachers of the year. The finalists were competitively selected by the district’s Staff Development Committee based on a written portfolio and interviews. The four finalists are:

Amanda Kordeliski, a teacher librarian at Irving Middle School for four and a half years and five years experience in education. She is active in the Oklahoma Library Association and Young Adult Library Association and has successfully brought National History Day opportunities to Irving students, including them qualifying for the national competition in Washington. Kordeliski says: “So often the end product or grade becomes the measure of success when in fact creating a passionate learner who is able to think critically and problem solve independently should be the ultimate learning goal.”

Kim Schooler, a fourth grade teacher at Truman Elementary for 10 years and 17 years experience in education. She is National Board certified and the founder and force behind Truman’s well-known Veteran’s Day program. She also is a state leader in the Oklahoma Writing Project and its national organization, the National Writing Project, and a repeat recipient of Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence grants. Schooler says: “Teaching is more than delivering instruction, it requires pouring your whole mind, body and soul into something bigger than yourself, to make your community and world a better place.”

Shawn Sheehan, a special education mathematics teacher at Norman High School for four years and four years experience in education. He founded Teach Like Me, a campaign to improve recruitment for and appreciation of the teaching profession, as well as the Music Club of Norman for NHS students. In his spare time, he coaches a Special Olympics adult basketball team in Moore. Sheehan says: “Leading by example is at the core of my teaching philosophy because it is my way of demonstrating that I am willing to do everything it takes to try and make things better for everyone around me.”

Amy Young, a fifth grade teacher at Cleveland Elementary for six years and 17 years experience in education. She is Cleveland’s community service project coordinator and has received numerous awards, some of which are the result of her being the executive director of Freedom School Oklahoma City, Inc. The nonprofit provides a tuition-free, summer literacy program for inner-city children. Young says: “My personal style is believing the possibilities are endless and there are no limitations on what anyone can learn. This belief helps me to set the bar high when it comes to what my students can accomplish.”

One of the four finalists will be named the NPS District Teacher of the Year at NPS’ annual Celebration of Excellence banquet, to be held April 14 at the Marriott-managed National Center for Employee Development in Norman. The winner will be chosen based on his/her portfolio, interviews and a video showcasing their teaching strengths and philosophy. The district winner will then proceed to compete in the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year competition, which announces its winner this fall at the State Fair of Oklahoma.

“I say this every year and mean it every year: I’m very grateful I don’t have the impossible task of choosing finalists and the winner of our district Teacher of the Year competition,” said Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano. “This year’s finalists are the epitome of teacher leaders and any one of them is deserving of the district title. I congratulate them on being named finalists and, more importantly, thank them for their dedicated service to the students and families of Norman. We’re very fortunate they chose Norman Public Schools to share their talents.”