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NHS teacher, Teach Like Me founder Shawn Sheehan is 2015 Norman Teacher of the Year

Norman Public Schools announced tonight during formal ceremonies that Shawn Sheehan, a special education mathematics teacher at Norman High School, is its 2015 Teacher of the Year. Sheehan began his teaching career four years ago and has spent all of those four years in Norman and at NHS.

The announcement of him as 2015 NPS Teacher of the Year came at the culmination of the district’s annual Celebration of Excellence banquet at the Norman Marriott/National Center for Employee Development. The event attracted record attendance of teachers and administrators from each school, lawmakers, community leaders and even Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister – who expressed her gratitude to the teachers for the great service they provide the state and called on Oklahoma to better reward and retain its quality teachers.

Sheehan, when not in the classroom, coordinates the Music Club of Norman for NHS students, coaches a Special Olympics adult basketball team, and works on the Teach Like Me initiative he founded. The effort seeks to inform the public on the rewards of teaching and attract more to the noble profession, using such tools as videos and social media to build awareness. Sheehan also holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Arizona State University and a master’s in special education from the University of Oklahoma.

He was chosen as NPS’ Teacher of the Year after a competitive process managed by the NPS Staff Development Committee and which included a comprehensive portfolio, interviews and a video showcasing teaching strengths and philosophy. The other finalists vying for the district’s top teaching honor were Amanda Kordeliski, a librarian at Irving Middle School; Kim Schooler, a fourth grade teacher at Truman Elementary; and Amy Young, a fifth grade teacher at Cleveland Elementary.

NHS Principal Scott Beck said he and the entire Tiger faculty were proud of and inspired by Sheehan, who wrote in his Teacher of the Year portfolio that “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.”

“Shawn is a tireless worker, a fearless advocate for students, a strong leader with his colleagues, and a visionary in every sense of the term,” Beck said. “He thinks beyond the here and now in his practice and with his students to see a deeper, bigger potential in both, and he is a worthy representative of the proud faculty of Norman High School.”

As NPS’ Teacher of the Year, Sheehan will now proceed to compete in the state Teacher of the Year competition, which is facilitated by the Oklahoma Department of Education. NPS Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano congratulated Sheehan, as well as the finalists and all of the site teachers of the year, and believed Sheehan’s success in the classroom, his philosophy and positivity will strongly resonate in the state competition.

“With the serious, statewide shortage of teachers in Oklahoma, Shawn symbolizes the type of passionate, innovative professional Oklahoma needs in its classrooms and teaching its next generation in this competitive, knowledge-based economy,” Siano said. “His enthusiasm for his craft is infectious and his can-do spirit lifts up and inspires his students, colleagues and everyone around him. We congratulate and thank him for his service, as we also do all of our extraordinary finalists and site teachers of the year.”

The Norman Teacher of the Year and finalists are the beneficiaries of prizes denoted by the generous sponsors of the NPS Teacher of the Year program. These sponsors include the Norman Public Schools Foundation, Republic Bank, Arvest Bank, Legend’s Restaurant, Copelin’s Office Center, Norman Sooner Rotary Club, The Montford Inn, Tom Jackson Photography, the Norman Regional Health System and Balfour.