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Norman educators recognized among Oklahoma’s best at statewide conference

Two Norman educators were recognized this week by State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister at EngageOK, a statewide education conference for teachers, administrators and parents.

Shawn Sheehan, a special education mathematics teacher at Norman High School, was recognized as one of 12 finalists for the 2016 State Teacher of the Year. Sheehan began his teaching career with Norman Public Schools four years ago and was recently named the 2015 NPS Teacher of the Year. He holds a master’s degree in special education from the University of Oklahoma.

When not in the classroom, Sheehan coordinates the Music Club of Norman for NHS students and coaches a Special Olympics adult basketball team. He also founded the national “Teach Like Me” campaign, which seeks to improve teacher recruitment and retention by redefining public perceptions of the profession.

Monroe Elementary Counselor Sarah Kirk was recognized at the event as one of three finalists for State School Counselor of the Year. Kirk launched a “kindness project” to assist her students in developing emotional and social skills and also developed a comprehensive program at Monroe that includes the use of therapy dogs. She has been with the district three years and holds a master’s degree in counseling from Oklahoma State University.

“Having two educators included as state finalists for such prestigious honors is validation that NPS employs the best and that our students receive excellent and innovative instruction,” said NPS Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano. “Shawn and Sarah are setting the standard across the state and beyond, and we are proud they choose to be on our exceptional team of educators.”

Norman North High School’s Big Band also was recognized for their accomplishments at the event and provided entertainment for thousands of participants.

The 2016 State Teacher of the Year and Counselor of the Year will be announced in August and November, respectively.