Peeples Named Teacher of the Year State Finalist

Peeples Celebrates Start of School as State Finalist for TOY
TOY State FinalistState Finalist TOY
August 25, 2014
– Shanna Peeples of Palo Duro High School has been selected to represent Region 16 and Amarillo ISD as a state finalist for Secondary Teacher of the Year. She received the announcement this morning at a surprise party thrown in her honor by students and staff.

“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 explained. “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 is set to share what keeps her motivated in the classroom and advice for fellow educators at a number of events throughout the school year.

“My first principal, Lisa Loan, used to say: ‘Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ That’s always stuck with me as a reminder to form relationships above anything else, because that’s what will motivate a student and help them succeed,” said Peeples.

As Whitlow shared, “Shanna has been instrumental in leading the English department at PDHS and infuses joy into learning.” Coworker Julie Tittle said “her support, care, mercy and kindness create a safe environment” where students can explore and examine their beliefs and dreams.  A student wrote, “she treats every student who comes to her with the same mindset: everybody, no matter their background or circumstance, can reach their potential and shine.”

“Part of what keeps me motivated is viewing teaching as an art rather than just a skill. Art is messy and art takes time and art comes with built in mistakes. It’s a hard job, but you get better at it,” Peeples said. “If you switch your focus to believe in your own strengths, it’s easier to feel like you have more control over the messiness of learning.”

In October, Peeples and other Regional Teachers of the Year will attend a conference in Austin where State Teacher of the Year is announced. Three elementary and three secondary teachers have been selected as State Finalists.

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