School board honors 11 nominees for teacher of the year

Eleven teachers were honored Monday by the Yukon School Board as teachers of the year.

The teachers come from each school in the district and were recently selected by their peers to vie for the role of district teacher of the year.

They were honored prior to the monthly school board meeting with a reception and then honored at the meeting.

This year’s nominees for district teacher of the year are: Megan Okot, Central Elementary; Jenny Loud, Myers Elementary; Dana Geis, Parkland Elementary; Rebecca Oglesby, Ranchwood Elementary; Brittnee Jones, Shedeck Elementary; Julie Lee, Skyview Elementary; Taylor Martz, Surrey Hills Elementary; Abbie Lunsford, Independence Elementary; Debra Dobrinski, Lakeview Elementary; Clayton Cannon, Yukon Middle School; and Emilie Shannon, Yukon High School.

“I don’t know how we are going to select a district teacher of the year with such great talent,” said Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth.

Meanwhile, assistant Superintendent Jason Brunk said Yukon continues to draw top-notch talent to fill its classrooms.

This year, of the district’s newly hired personnel, 81 percent were teachers, while 4 percent were counselors, 9.5 percent were support personnel and 6 percent were at the administration level.

Meanwhile, of the new teachers, 25 percent are graduates of the University of Central Oklahoma, while 18 are graduates of Oklahoma State University. Southwestern is represented by 12 percent of the new educators.

Brunk also said 39 percent of the new teachers that were hired have advanced degrees.

Thirty-eight colleges or university are represented in Yukon schools.

Brunk said the new teachers have an average of 5.7 years of experience, 31 percent have no experience and 24 percent had between 1 and 3 years of experience. The remainder, 45 percent, had at least five years of experience.

Of the new teachers, 18 are in the district with emergency certifications. Two more are expected to be added before the end of December.

The teachers represent seven states, 36 school districts and two foreign countries — England and Brussels, Brunk told the school board.

Nine teachers have left the district since the school year began, including one who left to become a Tulsa police officer.

“It’s a tough job, but it is a rewarding job,” Brunk said of teaching. “We are really doing well.”

Meanwhile, Brunk also told the school board that enrollment is up by 3.6 percent this year with the largest growth occurring at Surrey Hills Elementary. That school’s enrollment jumped by almost 100 students.

He also said the number of students in the district’s gifted and talented program has increased by more than 500 students over 2015 numbers, in part because of who is included.

Virtually every category of student enrollment has grown, he said.

Bilingual student numbers have increased from 684 in 2015 to 1,026 this year, while English Language Learners are up from 318 to 435.

“We are becoming more and more diverse,” he said.

In action taken by the board, they:

  • Accepted a donation of 15 acres of land from Rausch Coleman Homes near Mustang Road and Britton Road. The property will be the sites of a new intermediate school;
  • Approved the 2018 Board of Education meeting calendar. The new calendar includes meetings to be held at 6:30 p.m. and is the same time as current meetings;
  • Approved a resolution calling for a school election on Feb. 13. The seat held by Karen Youngblood will be filled during election. Youngblood’s zone includes an area mainly in northeast Yukon. The filing period begins Dec. 4 at the county election board. Candidates must live in the zone, though the school board member will be elected by all district patrons. Youngblood is not seeking re-election.
  • Approved the cash fund estimate of needs and request for appropriations for the building bond fund;
  • Approved the selection of The Stacy Group as the district’s architect for several upcoming projects, including the new intermediate school;
  • Recognized Jason McDaniel as the Oklahoma Technology Association’s Technology Leader of the Year;
  • Approved a renewal contract agreement with Integris Ambulatory Care Corp. for health services. Board member Rex Van Meter abstained from the vote. He is president of Integris Canadian Valley Hospital;
  • Approved several out-of-state trips;
  • Approved a new contract agreement with Briton Education LLC for behavioral assessments;
  • Approved rental agreements with Dance Etiquette and Central Oklahoma Ballet for use of the Fine Arts Auditorium for various performances;
  • Approved a list of surplus items from various schools;
  • Approved a list of new employees, as well as resignations and terminations.

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