Representing Deer Creek Intermediate School as their 2019-20 Teacher of the Year, Lindsey Birdwell believes lessons her students learn in the classroom must be applied in real world situations.
“We live in a world where people are inundated with more information than ever before,” Birdwell said. “It’s because of this that I feel education is becoming increasingly more important because the ability to process, distill and utilize the lessons learned in the classroom in a real world application is valuable beyond measure.”
(Editor’s Note: This story is one in a series of stories about educators who were chosen Teacher of the Year for their respective schools. Teachers are representing schools from both the Deer Creek and Edmond school districts.)
Birdwell said she hopes to convey the importance of academic learning as a tool in the pursuit of lifelong success.
“However, equally as important is the understanding that kindness and empathy are life skills that foster mutually beneficial relationships and create opportunities for growth, success and fulfillment,” Birdwell said.
The teacher said she has learned patience from being an educator, but she also has learned that each individual has different wants and needs and should be approached accordingly.
“As all educators know, teachers have the unique ability to affect the lives of their students not only through the lessons they teach and information they share, but also through fostering a positive learning environment where academic success and kindness amongst peers are equally encouraged and developed,” Birdwell said. “My ultimate goal is to encourage enthusiasm, creativity and self-motivation at every learning level. I believe that because I genuinely care about my students’ lives and academic progress, they will take notice and if they haven’t already, begin to care as well.”
She said, however, that it may be slightly more difficult to customize interactions and tailor the approach on a case-by-case basis. If done, she said the dividends it yields are significant.
“I hope that by treating each student as a unique and special individual, I have cultivated a positive learning environment and made an impact.”
Her selection as teacher of the year has been special, but she said the personal contact she receives from former students is a motivator.
“It is incredibly meaningful when former students reach out through handwritten letters or emails expressing their gratitude and appreciation for the time spent in my classroom,” Lindsey said. “These words are special to me and continually fuel my passion for education.”
Moving from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma in 1992, Birdwell grew up attending Edmond Public Schools and says she is a proud graduate from Edmond Santa Fe High School.
Birdwell is in her sixth year teaching at DCIS where she teaches Sixth Grade Pre-AP and Standard Literature. From 2006-2012 she taught Seventh Grade English and Honors English at Hefner Middle School in Putnam City School District.
“I graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Oklahoma State University and received my Middle Level English certification that same year,” Birdwell said.
“I knew after graduating college that I wanted to start a family here,” Birdwell said.
Birdwell teaches four standard Literature classes, one Pre-AP Literature, and one Antler Time class daily. Each class has a diverse student demographic with a wide range of needs.
“Antler Time is a program designed to give every student an opportunity to thrive within the DCIS community,” Birdwell said.
Students are offered a variety of enrichment and remediation opportunities.
“Through this class, I have more time to work one on one or in small groups with students in areas they have not yet mastered,” Birdwell said. “During this time I have led fun activities based on students’ interests to build community within the school such as “Walking Club,’ “Fitness Friday,” “Random Acts of Kindness group,” and “Pokemon Trading Card Club.”
Birdwell said she believes the teachers that she had throughout her formative years played a large role in inspiring her to become the educator she is today.
“After moving across the country and starting at a new school, it was my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Crowder, who made me feel most welcome, confident and encouraged,” Birdwell said. “She is one of many educators who had a significant influence on my life. This helped me realize the impact I could potentially have on the lives of others as well.”
Lindsey and her husband, Brandon, met at OSU in 2001.
“His fraternity and my sorority were partners in a variety show called ‘Freshman Follies,’” Lindsey said.
They were married in 2006 and celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary in December.
“In my spare time, I enjoy spending quality time with family and friends, traveling, reading, exercising, going to church, and attending my son’s extracurricular activities,” Lindsay said. “I am also a huge OSU fan and enjoy going back to Stillwater for games and events. Go Pokes!”
She is a current member of Professional Oklahoma Educators (POE).
Lindsey and her family attend The Well Church, where she volunteers in the elementary classrooms.
“I also enjoy hearing my husband play in the worship band and seeing my son participate in church-based activities/programs,” she added.