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Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced


Norman Public Schools has announced six finalists for 2018 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:

Teresa Lansford, a 13-year veteran of Norman Public Schools, has spent the last six years as a teacher librarian at Lincoln Elementary. Lansford is an outspoken proponent of integrating technology into instruction in authentic ways and is dedicated to sharing her success. A strong advocate of data use, she has served as a keynote speaker at national conferences on topics such as coding, Makerspaces, grant writing and library services. Lansford is driven by her philosophy to “make an impact,” measuring with data each decision she makes by the outcomes they produce for students.

Jessica Eschbach, an English and yearbook teacher, has been at Alcott Middle School for five years. She believes that teaching is more than just a job, but a calling and a lifestyle. She is committed to supporting her students in all aspects of their lives and making lifelong connections. As such she can often be found at band and orchestra concerts, sporting events, plays, art shows and all kinds of other student performances.

Laura Vaughn, a general science teacher at Irving Middle School, has five years of experience in public education. Vaughn spent 12 years as a science educator at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History before becoming a classroom teacher. She is passionate about introducing students to science, particularly females who, as statistics show, pursue STEM fields at a lower rate than males, and instilling in them a passion for curiosity and discovery. She is a certified trainer with SciGirls, the PBS show and curriculum designed to keep kids, especially girls interested in STEM.

Christine Hrubik, a vocal music teacher at Longfellow Middle School, has been in her current role for four years and has 10 total years of education experience. She is the Longfellow sponsor for the National Junior Honor Society and is passionate about civic engagement and service, much of which she participates in through her church. Under her direction this year, LMS had five students make COCDA choirs this year, the only NPS school with students selected. She believes every student has a voice and strives to create an atmosphere of respect and teamwork that allows them to discover it.

Erin Davis, a Latin teacher at Norman High School for the last 11 years, has taught for a total of 12. She has also sponsored a Yoga Club, teaching students about mindfulness and meditation and even teaches a similar class once a week for teachers. Davis believes that a teacher’s true purpose is to develop relationships with students and she uses her passion for Latin as a tool to do just that. She encourages her students to reflect on gratitude, cultivate kindness, to love learning and to take those ideas with them when they leave.

Tracy Bates, an English teacher at Norman North, has been in public education for six years. Always with a positive attitude toward change, Bates has been integral in helping reshape curriculum around new technology and resources, particularly the iTech initiative. She is a believer in fostering relationships and helping students learn to grow from mistakes, both those who struggle mightily and those who naturally excell.  

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 19 at Embassy Suites 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.