The Edmond Sun

September 18, 2012

2013 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year says 'geek is chic'

Fairview math teacher receives top honor

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — To paraphrase Elaine Hutchison, the newly named 2013 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, geek is chic this year.

Hutchinson was named the 2013 Teacher of the Year by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi during a ceremony Tuesday at the Oklahoma State Fair.

The Fairview Public Schools teacher teaches Algebra II, trigonometry, pre-calculus and AP calculus at Fairview High School and Chamberlain Middle School in the Fairview School District and at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics Regional Center.

“I am absolutely thrilled to give this title to Ms. Hutchison,” Barresi said. “I have to believe her enthusiasm for preparing students for jobs and the real world outside of high school, and her passion for her subject matter were deciding factors for the judges. I would like to stress, however, that all of our finalists bring unique gifts to the children of our state, and each are worthy of this high honor.”

Hutchison is a National Board Certified Teacher with 19 years of classroom experience. She has been in her current position 10 years. She earned her Bachelor of Science in secondary education from Oklahoma State University.

“A teacher’s enthusiasm ignites greatness,” Hutchison wrote in the portfolio that was considered by the Teacher of the Year selection committee.

“If we want our students to be excited about learning, they must feed on our passion,” Hutchison added. “We must work as though our daily contributions are what make or break our students’ success.”  

Hutchison said she is a fourth-generation teacher. Her grandmother taught piano until she was 88. She developed her work ethic, a foundation that propelled her to where she is today, from her mother. Hutchison’s husband is a science teacher.

Hutchison has developed what she calls the HT6, which includes six statements that help her in her life including, “be high tech and high touch, teach students not what to think but how to think to develop higher level thinking skills, use hands-on techniques, practice habitual thankfulness and be heroic teachers.”

Committees comprised of teachers, parents and community members selected two finalists from each of the six regions in the state. A state committee comprised of education, business and civic leaders chose the winner. The state-level competition included individual and group interviews, a written portfolio and personal videos showcasing each finalist’s teaching strategies.

Hutchison will represent Oklahoma in the national Teacher of the Year competition in the spring of 2013, sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the ING Foundation.

Edmond Public Schools 2013 Teacher of the Year, Angela McKenna, was one of the 12 finalists. McKenna has been teaching sixth- through eighth-grade Choral music, jazz and show choir at Sequoyah Middle School for 15 years. A National Board Certified Teacher, she has a B.A. in Music Education from the University of Central Oklahoma.

“Every child has a voice,” McKenna said. “It is my job to help find that voice, celebrate its uniqueness and encourage its growth.”

More than $150,000 in gifts and monetary awards were given to the Teacher of the Year finalists including more than $50,000 in cash and prizes from numerous contributors earmarked for the 2013 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

Hutchison received $5,000 from the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma; the use of a Ford vehicle for a year from the John Vance Auto Group, in coordination with the Oklahoma State Fair; products, software and professional development from SMART Technologies; a laptop computer from Oklahoma Schools Insurance Group; $1,000, a $2,500 tuition credit and a $500 credit toward a classroom makeover, and a Greg Burns print from American Fidelity Assurance Company; numerous scholarships and tuition waivers from many of the state’s universities; among many others.

Hutchison will serve as Oklahoma’s “Ambassador of Teaching,” presenting to teachers and civic groups throughout the state for one year.

Each finalist received prizes including a $1,000 award from Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma; two tickets and in-game recognition to an Oklahoma City Thunder game, a $100 gift card and other gifts from American Fidelity Assurance Company, in conjunction with the Oklahoma City Thunder; software and professional development from SMART Technologies; as well as gifts from the Oklahoma State Fair, the Oklahoma Education Association and Professional Oklahoma Educators.


Rising Star Teachers Recognized

Barresi recognized six Rising Star Teachers from across the state during Tuesday’s state Teacher of the Year Ceremony. Rising Stars are teachers who have been in the classroom seven years or less but who show an amazing amount of promise in their profession.

“It’s important that we honor the enthusiasm and the potential of these teachers,” Barresi said. “To be recognized by your peers after such a short time in the classroom is an amazing achievement. We are excited for the benefit these teachers will bring to Oklahoma students.”

Rising Stars were named a Teacher of the Year for their district. They are selected based on portfolios reviewed by the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year regional selection committees. The judges are made up of award-winning teachers, past Teachers of the Year and past finalists and PTA members.

This year’s Rising Star Teachers are Marcy Jack of Ada Early Childhood Center, Bridgette Smith of Bartlesville Mid-High School, Brandon Chitty of Broken Arrow Centennial Middle School, Mary Ann Campbell of Carnegie Public Schools and Andrea Tomlison-Brown of Millwood High School.