In superhero fashion, Yukon’s “Batman” teacher is this year’s teacher of the year.
Rebecca Oglesby, who is in her second year of teaching art at Ranchwood Elementary, was selected Thursday as the district teacher of the year. She was one of 11 teachers of the year for individual schools.
“I am very surprised,” Oglesby said following the announcement at the 10 West Main Events Center.
Oglesby said she was honored to be selected as this year’s honoree.
“The students make it special. They are the reason you come to school every day. It’s not for the paychecks. We come for the kids,” she said.
Oglesby is described by her principal, Kristin Lipe, as a superstar.
“We hire superstars, and every one of our teachers is a superstar. We do group interviews, and when we met her, we knew she was another superstar … so we added her to our faculty,” she said.
Oglesby is known as the “Batman Teacher.”
That’s because the teacher has a collection of thousands pieces of Batman memorabilia both in her classroom and at her home.
“I’ve collected since I was a kid. I have posters, action figures, piggy banks, Pez dispensers,” she said. “I’ve got them all.”
Oglesby said the collection is a way to connect with her students, to show them that she also is a kid at heart.
“When you put on the mask, you let them know you want to be a hero. You can’t take that job lightly. You have to take it serious. You have to become a hero. You can’t be a villain,” she said.
Oglesby is more than a teacher. She truly is a hero.
She started her teaching career at Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore and was teaching a first-grade class in 2013 when an F5 tornado slammed into the building.
She said experiencing the tragedy made her a better teacher.
“If anything it gave me purpose. It is more important to do what I do than ever before. I think in the back of your head, you know your number one priority is student safety, keeping them safe, whether that is from bullying or whatever. When it becomes that real to you, that they are entrusted to you …. It brings a whole level of purpose to what I do,” she said.
Oglesby said she has a passion for teaching and a passion for her students.
“In the midst of a lot of things, I think sometimes we forget our center. … This is not my profession, this is my purpose. I am about the students, and when that is your center, you can’t really be shaken from it,” she said.
Lipe said Oglesby has that passion.
“She has passion, nurturing and love that makes learning fun. Kids love to go to her class because it is exciting. Then they have artwork they take home that their parents frame and put on their walls. She is an amazing teacher,” Lipe said.
Oglesby likewise described Ranchwood as the best possible place to be.
“Kids from Ranchwood are the best that there are. Each kid is unique and they bring their own love of life. They all have unique abilities and they shine in their own way. When you have that many unique children together, it is amazing what all you can see,” she said.
The other teacher of the year nominees were:
Megan Okot, Central Elementary, teaches third-grade reading, social studies, spelling, and writing. She is a third-year teacher.
Jenny Loud, Myers Elementary, is a first-grade teacher. This is her sixth year in the district.
Dana Geis, Parkland Elementary, is a visual arts teacher working with kindergarten through third-grade students. This is her seventh year as a teacher.
Brittnee Jones, Shedeck Elementary, is a kindergarten teacher. This is her third year as a teacher.
Julie Lee, Skyview Elementary, is a math and science teacher. She has 22 years of teaching experience.
Taylor Martz, Surrey Hills Elementary, teaches second grade. She is in her third year of teaching.
Abbie Lunsford, Independence Elementary, teaches fifth-grade language arts and social studies. She is in her ninth year of teaching.
Debra Dobrinski, Lakeview Elementary, teaches fourth-grade math and science. She is in her 14th year of teaching.
Clayton Canon, Yukon Middle School, teaches seventh-grade Geography. This is his ninth year as a teacher.
Emilie Shannon, Yukon High School, teaches ninth-grade biology and works as an assistant athletic trainer. This is her third year teaching.