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Jessica Eschbach named 2020 NPS Teacher of the Year
The Norman Public School District tonight announced Jessica Eschbach, teacher librarian at Kennedy Elementary School, as the district’s 2020 Teacher of the Year. She began her teaching career in Norman and has been with the district seven years.
Eschbach was selected through a competitive process, coordinated by the district’s Staff Development Committee. After being selected as the Teacher of the Year for Kennedy Elementary School, she submitted a comprehensive portfolio, participated in various interviews and produced a video that showcased her teaching skills and philosophy. She was one of six finalists for the award and was crowned during the district's Celebration of Excellence event, which was held virtually this year.
“Jessica is an incredibly gifted educator,” Superintendent Dr. Nick Migliorino said. “She has made significant contributions in service to students in every position she has held. Jessica is innovative and engages students in unique and meaningful ways as she draws upon resources in the community to further advance students’ learning. She is an incredible asset and teacher mentor in our district, as she demonstrates the perfect combination of dedication, passion, professionalism and talent.”
Eschbach has been a bright talent in the Norman Public School District for years. In 2018 she was named Site Teacher of the Year for Alcott Middle School, where she taught English, and the same year was chosen as a finalist for NPS Teacher of the Year. She is active in many district initiatives, serving on several committees and acting as a mentor in the district’s New Teacher Mentor Program. She has been recognized across the district for her ingenuity and her dedication to innovative literacy programs, including inviting community leaders into the library to read to and mentor students.
Veteran educators, as well as those who are just entering the profession, were also recognized during the digital celebration. The district’s Rookie Teacher of the Year, Katie Messner, accepted the award for her excellence as a first-year kindergarten teacher at Lincoln Elementary while Jessica Bigbee of Washington was named the district’s Special Education Teacher of the Year.
The district named Janine Warren as the Lois Annesley Support Employee of the Year. Warren, the district’s accounting coordinator, was chosen from a group of six award-winning finalists from departments across the district.
District officials also honored Norman Regional Health System CEO Richie Splitt with the 2020 Public Education Ambassador of the Year Award, in recognition of the game-changing partnership between Norman Regional and the school district. Their financial support makes it possible for a health care provider to work in every Norman school. Norman Regional offers clinical instruction, CPR training, professional development and also provides virtual kiosks in several schools to immediately connect students with a pediatrician when necessary. The health system’s healers also serve as crucial advisors to the district, which has been invaluable now more than ever during the COVID-19 crisis. This partnership has been recognized by the Red Cross and other organizations as a model for districts across the country.