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Jessica Eschbach named State Teacher of the Year finalist

Norman Public Schools 2020 District Teacher of the Year and Norman North High School innovative learning coach, Jessica Eschbach, was named Thursday as one of 12 finalists for 2021 Oklahoma State Teacher of the Year.

Eschach, who was chosen as the district’s teacher of the year after being selected for the same honor for Kennedy Elementary, began her teaching career in Norman and has been with the district seven years.

“Jessica is an exceptional educator who represents the best of the teaching profession,” Superintendent Dr. Nick Migliorino said. “She is innovative and engages her students with unique and meaningful lessons, activities and techniques. She is passionate about, and gifted in, drawing upon resources in the community to further advance students’ learning experiences. Her combination of dedication, passion, professionalism and skill make her an invaluable asset to Norman Public Schools and the state of Oklahoma.”

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. 

“Being a teacher permeates every aspect of my life, in the best way possible, and working with students and teachers has taught me to be a more thoughtful, compassionate, and responsible human being,” Eschbach said.

All finalists were named teachers of the year for their respective districts and selected after their application packets were reviewed by a panel of educators, legislators and members of business and nonprofit organizations.  

The 2021 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year will be named in February. Beginning July 1, the honoree will assume full-time Teacher of the Year duties, which include speaking engagements and serving as Oklahoma’s ambassador for teachers, encouraging others to enter or remain in the profession. The 2020 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, Jena Nelson of Deer Creek Public Schools, will continue to tour the state until July.