Story provided by Stillwater Schools
Stillwater Public Schools this week announced three teachers as finalists for the Stillwater Public Schools 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year – Danielle Beavin, Marsha Nash, and Brenda Zacharias.
“There are rare moments in our lives when we stop and think, ‘Wow. This is a moment I will never forget; I hope it lasts forever.’ These are the moments I try to create with my students,” says second grade teacher Beavin. This is her third year at Skyline after being hired following a student teaching experience under mentor teacher Karen Diaz. “I am blessed with many people in my life who have shaped me into the teacher I am today. Being named Skyline’s Teacher of the Year and now a finalist for the district is a reflection of those who have continuously supported my dreams of teaching. This honor is not my own, it also belongs to my family members, friends, colleagues, principals, and former teachers who have inspired me along the way.”
Stillwater Junior High Special Education Teacher Marsha Nash is in her 26th year teaching with the district and the 37th year of her career. This is her fifth year at SJHS, but Nash has also worked at Highland Park, Richmond, Skyline, Westwood, and the Middle School. “Watching the independence and confidence of my students develop is one of the things I like most about teaching,” says Nash. “Being named building teacher of the year and now a finalist has been a humbling experience. It is rewarding to be recognized by my peers, but I wouldn’t be here without all the mentors and colleagues who have helped me to develop into the teacher that I am today. My Special Education team at the Junior High is the most supportive and encouraging group and I wouldn’t have made it through this year without them!”
“Interacting with students is what I like most about teaching. I enjoy getting to know them on a personal level. I also enjoy the camaraderie between teachers and staff,” says Zacharias, who is in her 25th year of teaching. She currently teaches fifth grade at Richmond Elementary and during her 24 years with Stillwater Public Schools has also spent some time at Sangre Ridge Elementary. “Being named building teacher of the year and now a finalist for district teacher of the year is both a humbling and rewarding experience. I certainly did not get here on my own. The support and encouragement of my fellow teachers and principals have helped me to become the teacher I am today. I am honored to represent them,” she says.
A group of their peers selected the three finalists from ten SPS school site Teachers of the Year. Nominees for the title completed a portfolio that was used to determine each school’s honored educator and then, subsequently, the district’s finalists. These finalists will submit a second, more detailed portfolio and be voted for by their peers to help determine the district Teacher of the Year.
Other SPS school site Teachers of the Year are: Marill Myers at Highland Park, Jody Sallaska at Sangre Ridge, Michelle Schaecher at Will Rogers, Rebecca Palmatary at Westwood, Allison Taylor at Stillwater Middle School, Jody Webber at Stillwater High School, and Chad Hutcherson at Lincoln Academy.
The district winner will be announced this April and go on to compete with teachers from across the state for the honor of being Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. Last year’s Stillwater Public Schools Teacher of the Year Ginger Billman is currently in consideration for the statewide title.