Mustang Schools names Lisa Stacey Teacher of the Year

Lisa Stacey, Mustang Middle School’s teacher of the year, was named the Mustang Public Schools District 2017-2018 teacher of the year on Tuesday.
Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel presented the award to her at a banquet at Mustang High School.
Stacey was surprised to be chosen among the 14 nominees for the award.
“I’m honored to be in your company,” she said to the other nominees. “I know what you do every day. I congratulate you all.”
Stacey graduated from Mustang High School in 1999, and she returned to be a Bronco as a teacher in 2015.
Her desire to be a teacher started in the halls of Mustang Middle School, when she was in Leslie Reynolds’ math class.
“I loved her. I loved her class. I loved the subject,” Stacey said.
“Any time I think of why I became a teacher, I distinctly have an image of her doing her thing. I always loved math in general. I love the cleanness of it.”
Stacey enrolled in the College of Education at the University of Oklahoma, but she fell victim to the stigma that comes with being an education major: too much work for not enough money.
She changed her major to business. She loved math, so accounting seemed like a good choice.
Her roommate, though, was still in education.
“I would see what she was doing, and we would have these conversations,” Stacey said. “I would think, ‘Oh my gosh, what am I doing? I want to do what you’re doing. I don’t want to be sitting over here in accounting.’
“The accounting college versus the education college, two totally different cultures.”
Stacey started her teaching career in Moore.
Her perspective has changed since she first set foot in a classroom.
“I was very good at math. The teacher would lecture, and we would work some examples,” she said. “My assumption growing up was that it worked that way for everyone. That’s been the big thing for me in growing as a teacher.
“Just because it worked for me and that’s the way we’ve done it for years, it’s not actually working for the majority of the students.”
She started relying on the veteran teachers around her.
“I latched on to some amazing teachers early,” she said. “I was super lucky to go to lots of professional development in my subject area and teaching in general.
“The challenge for me has been changing what I thought teaching was going to be like into what it really is.”
The math department at Mustang Middle School is going through a metamorphosis, evolving with the students and how they learn. The math team implemented digital learning with a lesson in dance.
“We said we were going to give them a task,” Stacey said. “We told them, ‘Your objective today is to learn the dance Copperhead Road. You have 30 minutes.’”
At first, the class was baffled. Then Stacey and the other math teachers asked them, “How do you figure out how to do anything else you want to do?”
Within 30 minutes, they had learned the dance. Some learned via Youtube or other internet sites. Once someone had the dance down, they taught others.
“It was beautiful, actually, watching them,” she said. “They were smiling and having fun. Then we pulled them together and asked, ‘Okay, what were your strategies for success today?’”
The next day, they gave their students the next math “standard” on the calendar, to graph a line from slope intercept form.
They were allowed to work together or alone. They could use technology and learn from each other. They could request help from one of the teachers at any time.
“The freedom and independence of it all was a big thing. That group earned one of the highest grades on a standard that they’ve had all year. It was a ‘wow’ moment for us,” she said.
Stacey is honored to be chosen Teacher of the Year, but it’s a hard honor to accept.
“For me, it’s hard for me to take the individual recognition of it,” she said. “It’s the team. We do everything as a team. It’s hard for me to say, ‘Yay me’ when it’s actually ‘Yay us.’”

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