Three Tulsa-area educators have been named finalists for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister announced the 12 total finalists on Tuesday morning at Moore’s Southmoore High School, the last of five regional sites for EngageOK on the Road, a free summer conference series by the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
They include Kirbey Dietzel, a fifth-grade teacher at Jenks East Intermediate. The Shawnee native is a University of Oklahoma graduate and is entering her seventh year as a math and science teacher at Jenks Public Schools.
“I am incredibly honored to be a finalist for state Teacher of the Year,” Dietzel said in a news release. “It is humbling to be mentioned with such an outstanding group of educators from around our state and to have the opportunity to represent this profession. I love helping students reach their goals, and I am so grateful to my colleagues at Jenks Public Schools for their help and encouragement in making me the teacher I am today.”
Kari Rhoden, a prekindergarten teacher at Oologah Lower Elementary in Oologah-Talala Public Schools, also is a finalist. She has been an educator for 24 years and has held her current position for five years.
Another, Michelle Rahn, is a sixth-grade science teacher at Will Rogers Middle School in Claremore Public Schools. She’s been an educator for 11 years and has held her current position for three years.
Other finalists from eastern Oklahoma are Grove High School teacher Terri Guthridge and Dewey High School teacher Cassandra Stauder.
All finalists were named teachers of the year for their districts and were selected by a panel of educators, legislators and members of business and nonprofit organizations.
“These 12 individuals represent the highest standard of education in our state and are exceptional examples of the tremendous impact one person can make in the lives of kids,” Hofmeister said. “Their use of innovative instructional strategies and their demonstrated ability to forge meaningful relationships with students and families demonstrate their commitment to the success of every child in their classroom. We are proud of their success, and they are deserving of this important honor.”
The 2020 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year will be named Sept. 17 in a ceremony at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.
Beginning July 1, 2020, the winner will assume full-time Teacher of the Year duties, which include speaking engagements and serving as the state’s teacher ambassador.
The 2019 state Teacher of the Year, Becky Oglesby of Yukon, will continue to tour the state until next July.
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