Peeples is National Teacher of the Year Finalist

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National Finalist News Conference
Uploaded: 01/15/2015
by: holly.shelton
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Peeples Named National Teacher of the Year Finalist
Announcement

January 14, 2015 – The Council of Chief State School Officers has announced Palo Duro English teacher Shanna Peeples, Texas Teacher of the Year, is one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year Program. Each year the 50 states, five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity name a state teacher of the year who then goes on to compete in the national program. These teachers have opportunities to work closely on policies, issues and everyday topics affecting education.

Peeples was celebrated for her recognition as National Teacher of the Year Finalist in a press conference held at the Amarillo Globe News Center for the Performing Arts. Community leaders and Amarillo ISD administrators were in attendance, as well as Campus Teacher of the Year representatives from all Amarillo ISD schools.

“Peeples illustrates that a great teacher is first and foremost a learner. She passionately seeks to improve her craft as a teacher, and moreover, never shies away from a challenge,” Palo Duro Principal Sandy Whitlow said. “She leads her colleagues by example and challenges us to continually and collaboratively evolve as professionals. We are elated that such a deserving teacher has been recognized for her tremendous efforts."

As part of her Teacher of the Year duties, Peeples will stay abreast of news and policy changes affecting education in America. She will also share what keeps her motivated in the classroom and advice for fellow educators at a number of events throughout the school year.

“School is the place where so many of us learned to dream, where we began the groundwork of our futures. This is repeated in classrooms all over America. Schools and their teachers are a stabilizing force in society and a fierce promoter and protector of our democracy,” Peeples explained. “Public schools have given us astronauts, presidents, musicians, scientists. And public schools have given so many of us a vision of ourselves and what we might become. They help us to find the most treasured thing any of us have: personal meaning and our contribution to the common good. Public schools must always stay open because teachers’ doors stay open, saying: come in, let’s learn, let’s hope, let’s begin dreaming."

Amarillo ISD Superintendent Rod Schroder is pleased Peeples has been recognized for her efforts in the classroom and beyond.

“The work Shanna and teachers like her do for students cannot always be recognized on a national stage, so I am proud someone like Shanna is being honored for her dedication in the classroom,” Schroder said. “She knows how to engage her students and comrades in education, and does so every day so those around her want to continually learn and seek more for themselves.”

Peeples has explored her career interests by working as a short-order cook in a bowling alley, pet sitter for the wealthy and local news journalist. She encourages her students to find themselves by writing, reading and exploring their talents.

“Teaching, in my opinion, is the most noble of professions. I believe we’re all artists of human potential, and I am so honored to represent my fellow artists. Like art, teaching is a messy and creative business, so I’m never completely satisfied with my teaching,” Peeples explained. “That’s why reflection is critical to the process of improving as a teacher. My days often end with questions that are on my mind as I drive home: What went well? What tanked? How can I do better tomorrow?”

The National Teacher of the Year will be announced in April in Washington, D.C. by President Barack Obama. Their duty year will follow the 2015-2016 school calendar.

Follow along with the press conference and other Teacher of the Year events for Shanna Peeples using the Twitter at #PraiseforPeeples and @TexasTOY2015. 

Click here for the news release from the Texas Education Agency and here for the news release from the Council of Chief State School Officers.

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