The 2009 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year is Heather Sparks from Taft Middle School in Oklahoma City. Heather is an 8th grade algebra and pre-algebra I teacher with 15 years of experience, including 14 years in OKC.
Heather wrote in her biography to the selection committee, "I had an opportunity to make a real difference for students, especially those who struggled in math. After years of basic textbooks and worksheets, the majority of my students lacked any appreciation for math. I embarked on a new teaching mission: to engage students in math, so they could experience the power it held and, yes, even how fun it could be!"
Sandy Garrett, State Superintendent remarked: " Heather Sparks is a fantastic choice for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year and the work she is doing to foster love of math and raise math achievement among the inner city students she serves is inspiring."
I taught with Heather's father-in-law, the late James Sparks, a science teacher at OKC's John Marshall High School in 1982. He would be very proud of Heather.
The OEA hosted a luncheon for the finalists and their families. The finalists included Sherilynn Admire of Midwest City, Debbie Flowers, Meeker; Betsy Glad, Union; Matt Holtzen, Enid; Valorie Lewis, Stigler;Cheryl McCord, Jenks; John Nolan, Norman; Denise Radcliff, Claremore; Mandy Rowley, Woodward; Phillip Scott, McAlester; and Nolan Watson of Cache. Also in attendence were several previous Oklahoma Teachers of the Year.
Heather's selection ends the representation of Stephanie Canada of Shawnee, the 2008 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. Stephanie did a great job of representing Oklahoma teachers at events across the country. She was selected as one of 5 people to be named as Ambassadors for Teachers for the Federal Department of Education in Washington.