Thompson Named Shawnee 2019 Teacher of the Year
Use the link below for photos from the Teacher of the Year ceremony.
Katie Thompson, kindergarten teacher from Shawnee Early Childhood Center, was announced as the Shawnee Public Schools 2019 Teacher of the Year during a banquet and ceremony Monday evening.
"I want to thank every adult in my life who has inspired me to teach and every child in my life who has motivated me to keep teaching," Thompson said during her acceptance speech.
"At this moment pictures of my current and former students’ faces are flashing in my mind. Not the paperwork and data I keep up with. Not the engaging lessons I plan or the aisles of Dollar Tree where I find myself on a weekly basis. But my students, my kids, are why I teach, and they are who I’m thinking about right now and usually every hour of the day," Thompson said.
Dr. April Grace, Shawnee superintendent, gave praise to all the Teacher of the Year nominees at the excellence they exhibit, noting that she was thankful she did not have to make the difficult decision of who would become Teacher of the Year for the district.
When speaking of Thompson, Grace said, "Katie is an outstanding educator and embodies every desirable quality we want in a teacher. She is someone who understands each child's unique circumstances, inspires hope and strives to give every child opportunities to succeed."
The announcement of Thompson's win capped an evening filled with student performances, speeches from school administrators and videos highlighting all the Teacher of the Year nominees. Jefferson Elementary music teacher Thresa Swadley led two of her cello students - SECC kindergartner Lily Timmons and Jefferson first grader Molly Newsom - in a brief performance. Shawnee High School's Show Choir, under direction from Justin Lee, performed two songs from "The Greatest Showman." Jayme Hutchcraft, the 2018 Shawnee Teacher of the Year who was unable to attend the ceremony, spoke to the audience through a pre-recorded video.
Grace noted the generosity from Shawnee businesses who contributed gifts and door prizes for the event and how thankful she is for the support the community gives Shawnee Public Schools.
Other Teacher of the Year nominees honored during the banquet and ceremony are
- Michelle Wallace, teacher counselor from Horace Mann Elementary;
- Melissa McElfresh, fourth grade teacher from Jefferson Elementary;
- Tyler Harrison, physical education teacher from Sequoyah Elementary;
- Caitlin Harrison, second grade teacher from Will Rogers Elementary;
- Kendra Butler, drama teacher from Shawnee Middle School;
- Theresa Dame, special education teacher from Shawnee High School; and
- David Rolette, social studies teacher from Jim Thorpe Academy.
As the Shawnee Public Schools Teacher of the Year, Thompson is now eligible to compete for the 2020-2021 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. Finalists for the statewide award will be announced in the summer of 2019.