Woodward, Okla. —
Chelsea Roberts, 8th grade American history teacher, is Woodward's 2013 Teacher of the Year.
The announcement was made by 2012 Teacher of the Year Lee Ann Stone during a reception Tuesday at the Northwestern-Woodward campus.
"It's shocking, I feel so incredibly honored and humbled. I'm over the moon right now," Roberts said.
The second-year teacher, who also serves as coach of the Boomer Dance Team, said she was honored to represent Woodward.
"I'd like to thank my family, my former teachers, my Middle School family, Mr. Harrington for giving me the job, my students, I could just go on and on," Roberts said.
During her acceptance speech, Roberts thanked both her family and Middle School family who'd come to support her. She said she was shocked to receive the award as she felt their were so many other teachers who were more deserving of the award.
Roberts, who had grown up attending the Woodward school system, thanked all the amazing Woodward teachers that had inspired her, as well as her students who made her want to come to work every day.
Other finalists for the award included High School Chemistry and Environmental Science teacher Chanda Peters, High School English and College Prep/ACT teacher Michelle McDonald, 8th grade Algebra and pre-Algebra teacher Abbie Wasson, pre-kindergarten teacher Monica Hodgden at the Early Childhood Center, and 2nd grade teacher Emilee Neagle at Horace Mann Elementary.
Prior to the announcement, a student of each teacher talked about why they thought their teacher was deserving of the award.
Abbie Hardy said it was a joy to have Roberts as a teacher. Hardy noted Roberts' attention grabbing lessons, as well as her passion in teaching and positive attitude toward students. Hardy said Roberts knew when to joke and relax, and admired her for her love of teaching and her ability to acknowledge students as unique individuals. Hardy said Roberts encourages her students and makes school enjoyable.
Jaci Hodges described McDonald as a passionate and engaging teacher. Hodges said McDonald not only exposed her students to timeless literature classics, but made them relatable. She said McDonald shows a genuine interest in students outside of the classroom as well.
Haylee Bates, a student of Peters for two years, said she was very deserving of the award. Bates recalled the three promises Peters makes all of her students on the first day of class: They will never have a day off; they will learn something new every day and she will never ask them to work harder than she is willing to. Bates said Peters made good on those promises, and in doing so had touched so many lives of her students.
Hattie Brittain said in addition to being an amazing teacher, Wasson is also a loving wife and mother and she encourages all of her students to reach their potential.
Kindergartener Jack Case recalled being nervous going to school for the first time as a pre-kindergarten student, but that Hodgden had made him feel special and had always been kind.
Elizabeth Hall said Neagle taught with a positive attitude, making the best of everything and that she not only made education understandable, but fun and funny as well. For these reasons, Hall said Neagle would be someone she would always remember and admire.
Woodward Chamber President C. J. Montgomery thanked the finalists and the entire Woodward education system.
"We don't get to thank them enough and they really do an outstanding job," Montgomery said.
City Commissioner Bill Fanning addressed the crowd as well, opening with a quote from author William Arthur Ward concerning teachers; “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
Fanning then proceeded to thank both teachers and administrators for their contributions to the Woodward education system, as well as the Woodward News and Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the Teacher of the Year contest, as well as the local businesses who contribute through donations to the teachers.
Woodward Superintendent Tim Merchant said, "I'd just like to say again how amazing it is the amount of support Woodward gives to our education system as well as our Teacher of the Year program. I'd like to extend my thanks to all the businesses who made donations to the program, as well as everyone who attended for their support.
"One thing I look for in Teacher of the Year candidates, aside from their ability to teach, is a focus on building relationships with their students. All six candidates did this and all six were incredibly deserving. I'd like to give a huge congrats to Chelsea, she'll represent the teachers of the district well, and I wish her luck in the Teacher of the Year state competition."