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Juan Renteria Named 2021 District Teacher of the Year

The Norman Public School District tonight announced Juan Renteria, fifth grade teacher at Truman Elementary School, as the district’s 2021 Teacher of the Year. Renteria began his teaching career with NPS and has been with the district for six years.

“Juan is an extraordinary educator,” Superintendent Dr. Nick Migliorino said.”His passion and energy for helping his students is inspiring. He often talks to his students about being bridge builders, which is fitting because he builds bridges for his students every day. He appreciates and values each student for who they are and helps them find their voice so that they can be successful and grow in his classroom. I could not be more proud to have Juan represent Norman Public Schools and all our wonderful teachers.”

A rising talent in the profession, Renteria has excelled as an educator since he began his teaching career six years ago. In 2016 he was named the Norman Public Schools Rookie Teacher of the Year, an award given annually to an exceptional first-year educator. He is also active at the district level, participating in the NPS Recruitment Cadre where he helps the district seek out and recruit the best educators in the state to come to Norman. A member of the NPS Diversity and Enrichment Council, Juan also is passionate about making sure all Norman Public Schools students have a voice and that they are welcomed, valued and appreciated for their unique backgrounds and experiences.

Renteria was selected through a competitive process, coordinated by the district’s Staff Development Committee. After being selected as the Teacher of the Year for Truman Elementary School, he submitted a comprehensive portfolio, participated in various interviews and a video that showcased his teaching skills and philosophy. He was one of five finalists for the award and was crowned during the district's Celebration of Excellence event. Seating was limited to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols, and the event was also live streamed.

Veteran educators, as well as those who are new to the profession, were also recognized during the celebration. The district’s Rookie Teacher of the Year, Morgan Dragg, accepted the award for her excellence as a first-year teacher at Monroe Elementary while Elizabeth Briley of Truman Primary was named the district’s Special Education Teacher of the Year.

The district named Mollee Speichinger as the Lois Annesley Support Employee of the Year. Speichinger, a licensed practical nurse and the health professional for Alcott Middle School, was chosen from a group of six award-winning finalists from departments across the district. 

District officials also honored Norman Public School Foundation Executive Director Jenny Dakil, as well as three organizations with a 2021 Public Education Ambassador of the Year Award. Dakil, who will soon retire after more than 30 years of service to the Foundation, has led the organization to invest nearly $3 million into Norman Public Schools to enrich learning experiences for students and teachers. Additionally, the district honored IMMY Labs, the Cleveland County Health Department and the NPS Health Services team for their contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The counsel, support and tireless work these groups provided throughout the last year has been invaluable and has been essential to the district’s ability to continue to provide safe and effective learning environments for all students.