MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

July 17, 2014

2 in area among finalists for state Teacher of Year

Barresi announces list of 12

Muskogee High School social studies teacher Diane Walker recalled feeling “surreal” Wednesday.

“I woke up this morning in Oklahoma City and felt it was all a dream,” Walker said on Wednesday after she was named one of 12 finalists for 2015 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. “I am just awed by the other finalists.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi announced the finalists during the Department of Education’s Vision 2020 conference in Oklahoma City.

Tahlequah High School math teacher Jason Scott Proctor also was named a finalist. Proctor teaches geometry, Algebra II, pre-calculus and advanced placement calculus at Tahlequah High School, according to a media release.

A panel of educators and civic leaders will select the 2015 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, who will be honored this fall.

Walker, who has taught in Muskogee for 16 years, teaches All-Honors Oklahoma history, world history, government and geography at MHS. She was named MPS Teacher of the Year in March. Walker’s past honors include Oklahoma Bar Association Teacher of the Year and the Oklahoma Historical Society Award for Best Teacher of the Year.

She is the fifth MPS teacher since 2004 to be named a state Teacher of the Year finalist. Two ended up with the state title — Linda Hasler-Reid for 2007 and Cindy Ball for 2004. Other MPS finalists were David Shouse and Lisa Lamont.

According to a Department of Education profile, Proctor has taught math at Tahlequah High School for eight years and is a National Board Certified Teacher.

Wednesday’s Vision 2020 session also featured recognition of Hilldale Middle School and Sadler Arts Academy as National Schools of Character.

Madison Tomlinson, a state coordinator for the Character Education Partnership, said this was the first year the state conference recognized Schools of Character.

“Earlier this year, the State Department of Education became the official sponsor to recognize state Schools of Character,” Tomlinson said.

CEP Schools of Character Director Sheril Morgan, a former MHS teacher, said the recognition “not only celebrates what schools have done, but inspires other schools to do the same.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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