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District announces three Teacher of the Year finalists

Norman Public Schools has announced three finalists for 2017 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 finalists are: 

Ashlynn Dickinson, a music teacher at Lincoln Elementary, has taught for four years. She understands the power of collaboration and works closely with other teachers to integrate music into lessons about history, math and physical education. She serves the community by leading the children’s choir at her church and volunteering for service projects that benefit children and college students. Dickinson credits her own teachers for her success and believes all children should be afforded the opportunity to receive a high quality education.

Shannon Mashburn, a third-grade teacher at Truman Elementary, is National Board Certified with 22 years of teaching experience. She believes that it is important to spend one-on-one time with her students to learn about each child and what they love to do. She often attends their dance recitals, music programs and sporting events to show them how much she cares. Mashburn says when students know they are genuinely cared for, they will work hard and believe in themselves. Mashburn is also committed to mentoring new teachers to help guide them as they navigate the classroom so they can become successful and eventually become mentors themselves.

Jamie Rentzel, a Norman High School math teacher, has 11 years of teaching experience and has achieved National Board Certification. She was recently awarded with a Presidential Award of Excellence, leads the math department at her school and is an active member of her church and the Junior League of Norman. Rentzel constantly reflects on why the concepts she teaches are important and finds new ways to present the material in engaging ways to ensure her students enjoy the learning experience and fully understand the content.

“These finalists exemplify excellence in education,” said Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano. “Our teachers are among the best in the state and these professional educators serve as leaders in the profession. We appreciate all of our educators and the steadfast support they offer to our students as they grow and achieve their full potential. We are excited for these finalists and wish them the best as they move forward in the selection process.”

One finalist will be named the NPS District Teacher of the Year at the district’s annual Celebration of Excellence banquet, to be held April 18. 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.