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NPS announces 2021 District Teacher of the Year Finalists

Norman Public Schools has announced five finalists for 2021 District Teacher of the Year from a field of 25 site teachers of the year. The finalists were chosen by the district’s Staff Development Committee based on a rigorous selection process which included a written portfolio and interviews. 

“These exceptional individuals represent the very best of what it means to be an educator,” said Superintendent Dr. Nick Migliorino. “Norman Public Schools teachers are among the best in the state and these five serve as leaders in the profession. We truly appreciate all of our educators and the steadfast support they have provided to our students during a trying year. I am so proud of 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 event, to be held in April. The winner will be chosen based on her/his 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 traditionally announces its winner in the fall at the State Fair of Oklahoma.

The finalists are:

Erin Carpenter - McKinley Elementary
Erin Carpenter is a Kindergarten and second grade virtual teacher at McKinley Elementary school. She has eight years of teaching experience and has been with the district for her entire career. A leader in the field, Carpenter serves a mentor teacher for NPS. She believes in creating a safe. loving and engaging environment for students, allowing them to find a lifelong love of learning and reading.

Meredith Ziegler - Roosevelt Elementary
Meredith Ziegler is the music teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School. She has 11 total years of experience in education and has been in her current role for four years. Selected as the Oklahoma City Public Schools district teacher of the year and Oklahoma Rising Star Educator in 2015, Ziegler is no stranger to excellence.

Juan Renteria - Truman Elementary
A fifth grade teacher at Truman Elementary School, Juan Renteria has been with Norman Public Schools since the beginning of his six-year career in teaching. An up and coming talent in the profession, Renteria was named Norman Public Schools’ rookie teacher of the year in 2016 and in 2017 was named an Oklahoma Exemplary Educator.

Kathy Outlaw - Alcott Middle School
Kathy Outlaw teaches English/Language Arts as well as yearbook at Alcott Middle School. She has been with Norman Public Schools for seven years and has 11 total years of experience teaching. She believes that the best teachers meet their students where they are and find ways to meet their social and emotional needs while teaching them at the same time.

Stephanie Young - Longfellow Middle School
A special education, English/language arts teacher at Longfellow Middle School, Stephanie Young has been an educator for 15 years. A 13-year veteran of the Oklahoma Army Guard who served active duty in Desert Storm, Young entered teaching as a second career. She believes in being an advocate and voice for students who learn differently and helping them discover their own paths to learning.