Shanna Peeples Named National Teacher of the Year!

Shanna Peeples Named National Teacher of the Year!
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April 27, 2015 Amarillo ISD’s own Shanna Peeples today was named the National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).  Peeples, an English teacher at Palo Duro High School, is the first educator from the state of Texas to earn the national honor since 1957.

“I want to congratulate Shanna Peeples on this extraordinary honor and express my sincerest gratitude for her dedication to improving the lives of so many young Texans,” said Governor Greg Abbott.

“Shanna Peeples brings a combination of knowledge, energy and enthusiasm to her classroom and her students are the beneficiaries,” said Michael Williams, Texas Commissioner of Education.  “It is wonderful to see a Texas educator claim this national honor.” 

“Shanna is a great choice for this recognition,” said Amarillo ISD Superintendent Rod Schroder.  “We are honored to showcase one of our teachers to the world.  The work Shanna and teachers like her do for students cannot always be recognized on a national stage, so I am proud one of our own teachers is being honored for her dedication in the classroom.”

Peeples will be formally recognized by President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony on Wednesday.  Superintendent Schroder and AISD School Board President John Ben Blanchard, along with Commissioner Williams, State Board of Education Member Marty Rowley, and Johnny Veselka, executive director of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), will be in Washington, D.C. to attend the event.  TASA is the organization that administers the State Teacher of the Year program. 

“To me, the title of Teacher of the Year is a way for me to always talk about what teachers do for our kids,” Peeples said.  “I am exceedingly proud of the honor of representing men and women who pour themselves into this, the most important job there is.”

At Palo Duro, Peeples teaches AP English and English III.  She serves as the English department chair as well as an instructional coach for other teachers.  Peeples’ students come from many different backgrounds and many are refugees who recently entered the U.S. from another country.

Palo Duro Principal Sandy Whitlow says Shanna Peeples is a lifelong learner who inspires her students and colleagues. “Shanna can tailor instruction to the needs of her students, whether she is working with refugees who have suffered traumatic events in their lives, or AP students who crave challenging curriculum, or at-risk students who are attending school in the evenings to recover lost credits.  The bottom line is that her students know she truly cares about them, and she will invest every ounce of energy in helping them attain their goals.”

Peeples was named one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year in January, after being selected as AISD’s 2014-15 Secondary Teacher of the Year, Region 16 Secondary Teacher of the Year, and Secondary Teacher of the Year for the state of Texas. 

As 2015 National Teacher of the Year, Peeples will spend a year traveling the nation to represent educators and advocate on behalf of teachers.  She also hopes to use the opportunity to shape the conversation about reaching students in poverty, as well as those who have already faced extreme challenges.

“It is clear why Shanna was selected to be the 2015 National Teacher of the Year,” said Chris Minnich, executive director of CCSSO. “Her dedication to teaching is all-encompassing, from the countless hours she devotes to helping every child in her classroom to the time she spends mentoring colleagues in her school district.”

“I look forward to seeing Shanna engage people across the country in a conversation about how to improve education as she shares her vision of supporting all students and teachers,” Minnich continued.

Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) News Release

Texas Education Agency (TEA) News Release


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