State Superintendent Janet 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 has taught Kindergarten for four years at Ada Early Childhood Center in the Ada School District. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Sociology as well as a Master’s in Psychological Services from East Central University. She believes that an effective teacher takes the time to know each student on a personal level. Her philosophy is that “early childhood educators need to be innovative, persistent, and have a ‘never give up’ attitude while teaching our youngest students.”
• Bridgette Smith has spent four of the last five years teaching English at Bartlesville Mid-High School in the Bartlesville School District. She holds an Associate’s degree in English Education from Tulsa Community College, as well as a Bachelor’s of Arts in Secondary English Education from Northeastern State University. She is a strong believer in the power of language. Because of this, she uses her words for the power of changing students into who they can be and not who they think they are.
• Brandon Chitty has spent the last five years as a Science teacher at Centennial Middle School in the Broken Arrow School District. He has an Associate’s Degree in Science from Tulsa Community College as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Northeastern State University. He is inspired by the quote” Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.” He believes that the greatest “little thing” he can do for his students is care for them.
• Mary Ann Campbell has taught 7th and 8th grade English, 10th-12th grade Government, 10th-12th grade Yearbook, and 9th-12th grade Speech for the past three years for Carnegie Public Schools. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Southwestern Oklahoma State University, The University of Oklahoma, and The University of Central Oklahoma. She believes the rewards of teaching are numerous. She enjoys making learning fun and rejoicing with the students and their families when they are successful.
• Andrea Tomlison-Brown has spent more than five years teaching English at Millwood High School in the Millwood School District. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Creighton University and a Master’s in English Education from the University of Central Oklahoma. She believes that all children can learn and that every child deserves a quality education – the same quality education that she would provide for her own children.
• Tara Fisher has taught English Language Arts for seven years at Okeene High School in the Okeene School District. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. She stated that teaching is one of the few occupations where one sees their clients on a daily basis and is able to instill in them the knowledge needed for life.
Rising Star winners don’t know they’ve been selected until the day of the Teacher of the Year ceremony.
In addition to recognition at the Teacher of the Year ceremony, Rising Star Teachers each receive $1,000 in cash and other prizes from a variety of donors, including the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Schools Insurance Group, the Oklahoma Education Association and Professional Oklahoma Educators.
CUTLINE FOR PHOTO: From left to right, Tara Fisher, Mary Ann Campbell, Marcy Jack, State Superintendent Janet Barresi, Brandon Chitty, Andrea Tomilson-Brown, Bridgette Smith