Becky Oglesby sat stunned for a few seconds after her name was read before it registered. Then her eyes grew large and she broke into a smile.
Oglesby had just been named Oklahoma’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.
Oglesby teaches art at Yukon’s Ranchwood Elementary and was one of 12 finalists for the award.
Tuesday, she was named the top teacher in the state during a ceremony at the Oklahoma State Fair.
She is only the second Yukon teacher to receive the honor. The other was Jane Kennedy, who was teacher of the year in 1986.
“I am completely shocked and in awe. I am very honored to be able to represent the profession,” Oglesby told the media moments after winning. “It is very humbling.”
Oglesby said that children are why she teaches.
“We love them like they are own kids. We take care of them, not just academically, but sometimes in their personal lives as well,” she said. “We get to pour in more than the basics of education.”
Oglesby said she was stunned by her selection but looks forward to her year of serving as an ambassador for education.
“I think it widens the reach of what you get to do. In my classroom, I have 400 students. Now it will be 44,000 teachers that you potentially will get to speak to and encourage and share your passion with,” Oglesby said.
|State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who made the presentation, said Oglesby’s creative teaching style, along with her optimism and passion for education, is a model of excellence for Oklahoma. |
“Becky is a teacher who does not falter, no matter the circumstances. She demonstrates compassion and courage, and treasures her students, never failing to celebrate the individuality of each one,”Hofmeister said.
“Often, our teachers are literal heroes. Becky Oglesby is proof of that.”
Yukon Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth also said he was proud of Oglesby, who graduated from Mustang High School.
“I’ve been a part of four finalists, and this is the first one who won. It puts a whole new level of excitement on the process. Becky is the most outstanding teacher of the year that the state has had. Her passion, her dedication, her wiliness to continue to do what she does even after the life-changing event that could have ended her career, just speaks volumes for what she does for kids. She will be a fantastic representative for the state,” Simeroth said.
Oglesby was in her second year of teaching when a tornado took aim on Moore’s Plaza Towers Elementary School.
Seven students died after the storm hit the school. Oglesby used her body to protect her students as the building was being destroyed.
“Any educator who truly has the heart of a teacher would have done the exact same thing given the opportunity,” Oglesby said.
Oglesby will represent the education department for a year beginning in the 2019-20 school year. Simeroth said he expects her to return to the classroom once her duties are completed.
“The kids are going to miss her,” he said.
Oglesby was one of 12 finalists for the honor. Other finalists included Piedmont counselor Cathy Adams, Natalie Fielden of Sapulpa, Shari Gateley of Putnam City West, Amy Greenshaw of Jenks, Carol Hunsperger of Grove, Teresa Lansford of Norman, Jenny Morphis of Hilldale, Warren Neff of Bartlesville, Jessica Robinson of Altus, Michelle Shelton of Noble, and V. Jannean Thompson of Berryhill.
“Becky is beautiful from the inside out,” said Kristin Lipe, who is her principal. “She is a hard worker, builds relationships not only with her children, but with their parents.”
In addition, she has the respect of her fellow teachers, Lipe said.
“She may be young, but she works well with the teachers,” the principal said.
Oglesby has a nickname. She is the “Batman” teacher.
That’s because Oglesby has a large number of “Batman” collectibles that she uses inside her classroom as teaching tools.
“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,” Oglesby said earlier this year after winning at the district level.