President Recognizes Peeples at White House

President Recognizes Peeples at White House Ceremony
Peeples and Obama

April 29, 2015 – Many across the country witnessed history being made this morning as Shanna Peeples, Palo Duro High School English teacher in Amarillo ISD, was recognized by President Barack Obama as the 2015 National Teacher of the Year. In a special ceremony at the White House Rose Garden, President Obama personally congratulated Peeples for her dedicated service and unwavering desire to make the lives of every student better.

Teachers from the nation’s 50 states, five extra-state jurisdictions, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity were recognized.

“Every day these teachers behind me, they give their students their all – their knowledge, their creativity, their focused attention, their love. They empty the tanks for their kids. Then they get up the next morning and they do it all over again,” President Obama said. “And today is our chance to say thank you, to let these educators know that we see how hard they work, we know the difference they make in their students’ lives, and…are making an incredible difference in the life of our country. Today is a chance to reaffirm how important teachers are to our nation, not just these teachers, but all teachers.”

As National Teacher of the Year, Peeples will spend the next year traveling the nation representing educators and advocating on their behalf. Making around 150 appearances, Peeples anticipates using every opportunity available to shape the national conversation on public education. Reaching students in poverty and working with students who have already faced extreme challenges in their lives are conversation topics she will continually promote.

“America’s future is written in our classrooms,” President Obama said. “They teach students to challenge themselves, and dream beyond their circumstances, and imagine different futures. And then they work as hard as they can to help those young people make those dreams become real. So at the end of the school year, their children are not just smarter, they’re stronger, and more confident, and more resilient, and more inspired. Those qualities are hard to measure, but they are invaluable. America’s hungry for more teachers like these.”

Following President Obama’s recognition of both she and all teachers in America, Peeples took the podium where she told the story of her former student Lar Bway who journeyed to school even when it was closed for winter weather. The story tells a message Peeples will share throughout her tenure as National Teacher of the Year, one of schools and teachers providing the support students need to grow up into successful adults. The words she shared today will be kept in the National Archive, persevered in history.

“We are, in schools all over America, in a sense, never closed. This is the commitment that America and its schools offer all of our students – we will be here, and we will help you. This is no easy promise, and this is why so many families send us their most valuable resource – their children,” Peeples said. “Schools and their teachers are a stabilizing force in society, and a fierce promoter and protector of our democracy. Public schools help us to find the most treasured thing that any of us have – personal meaning in our contribution to the common good.”

President Obama personally invited Peeples to lunch following the National Teacher of the Year ceremony. This is the first time in National Teacher of the Year history the teacher holding the title has been invited by the President to lunch to further discuss their experience in the classroom and vision for education.

Peeples represents the state of Texas as its first National Teacher of the Year since 1957. According to the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), Peeples is the second teacher from Texas to hold the title of National Teacher of the Year. Her duty year will follow the 2015-2016 school calendar.

This evening Peeples will provide the key-note address at a gala honoring all of those participating in the National Teacher of the Year program.

A recorded version of the ceremony may be found online:

Continue staying abreast of National Teacher of the Year events by following along on Twitter using #PraiseforPeeples, #NTOY15, @AmarilloISD and @TexasTOY2015.

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