Yukon educator among finalists for state award

A math teacher at Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Cowan Campus is one of four state finalists for the Presidential Awards of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Cheryl Brannum, of Yukon, was announced Wednesday as being among the finalists at the secondary level.

State schools Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister announced the finalists through a news release.

Brannum is a geometry, algebra 2, pre-AP calculus and AP statistics teacher at the technology center.

Officials have described her classrooms as energetic and enthusiastic with an emphasis on the process of discovery.

She was voted teacher of the year in 2013 by her colleagues.

Brannum said she was surprised by the honor.

“It’s very humbling to me. I’ve been teaching for a long time, and it’s nice to know that your efforts have come to fruition. I am proud to be a part of this,” she said.

Brannum said that while she has been teaching for 25 years, and technology has changed, math doesn’t change much.

“The technology allows you to refocus the ways you go about teaching. … It is more about student learning,” she said.

Brannum also has previously taught in the Yukon and Choctaw school districts.

“Cheryl is representative of the very best at Canadian Valley,” said Superintendent Dr. Greg Winters. “She teaches high-level math mostly for students enrolled in our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) classes. I assure you it is no accident she is a state finalist for this award. We are very proud of her.”

The award was established in 1983 and is the highest recognition a K-12 mathematics or science teacher can receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.

The other finalists include Megan Cannon of Sapulpa; Julie Klingensmith of Norman and Telannia Norfar of Oklahoma City.

Hofmeister praised the finalists for their work in raising student outcomes in math and science.

“Congratulations to this amazing group of Oklahoma educators,” said Hofmeister. “Their talent, commitment and contributions to math and science instruction in the classroom not only enhance student learning but serve as an inspiration to their colleagues, students and communities. I am proud that Cheryl, Megan, Julie and Telannia are representing Oklahoma and applaud them on this well-deserved national recognition.”

The finalists were chosen by a local selection committee consisting of teachers, district-level personnel, representatives from higher education and past recipients.

Each finalist demonstrated a mastery of math and science instruction and effective use of student assessments to improve student learning.

Hofmeister commended the finalists’ dedication to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction in Oklahoma.

“By sharing their passion and expertise in STEM with students across the state, these educators are equipping Oklahoma’s schoolchildren for a successful future.”

The national recipients represent all 50 states and U.S. territories.

Award winners will receive a paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and a certificate signed by the president of the United States.

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