EDMOND — Three Tulsa-area instructors were among 12 finalists for the 2017 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year award announced Monday.

Mike Doudican, 52, teaches U.S history and U.S. government at Glenpool High School.

“It’s an incredible honor,” he said.

Doudican credited his fellow teachers in Glenpool for the honor.

Asked about the most difficult aspect of teaching, he said he felt like a lot of times only the negative aspects about education are reported, adding that he wished more of the positive side was in the news.

“Schools offer so much for the community and the state,” Doudican said.

Brittany Hix, 25, teaches sixth-grade language arts and social studies at Jenks West Intermediate.

“I am really humbled and honored,” she said.

Hix said that although low pay is an issue in education, it’s a profession “that is very much a calling. We do what we do because we know there’s purpose in it.”

The most difficult part of the job is also the most rewarding, she said, and that is meeting the individual needs of students and reaching them on their level.

Kay Morris, 56, is a Reading Sufficiency Act coach at Verdigris lower elementary.

“I am so honored, surprised and blessed to be representing our district,” she said. “We have some awesome teachers in our district. I hope I can be a voice for them.”

Morris said the most difficult aspect of her job is tailoring instruction to meet the needs of every student. Even though some children are the same age, they have differing developmental levels, she said.

Seeing a child understand what they are working on is the most rewarding aspect, she said.

“They’re in charge of their learning,” she said.

A lot of children have learned helplessness in them, she said. She tries to show them strategies that enable them to learn.

The finalists were announced during a summer conference at Santa Fe High School in Edmond.

The Oklahoma Teacher of the Year winner will be named Aug. 30 at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.

“Each of these men and women stood out in a sea of talent across the state,” said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. “Their professionalism, creativity, and commitment to Oklahoma’s public education system stand as shining examples of how dedication and passion can change the lives of Oklahoma’s children.”

Other finalists include Rebecka Binion, Oklahoma City Public Schools; Kristen Dover, Cache Public Schools; Robin Haworth, Tecumseh Public Schools; Jon Hazell, Durant Public Schools; Charmin Holland, Duncan Public Schools; Tiffany Massie, Mustang Public Schools; Adam Mewhorter, Moore Public Schools; Lisa Pitts, Jones Public Schools; and Mona Schmitz, Woodward Public Schools.

The state Department of Education also named six Rising Stars who demonstrated great skill and potential in their applications.

They are Jamie Aguilar, Enid Public Schools; Michelle Clonch, Ada Public Schools; Melaine Crowder, Grove Public Schools; Laura Latta, Union Public Schools; Kasey McKinzie, Wanette Public Schools; and Jordan Wisniewski, Bethany Public Schools.

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Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465