Shanna Peeples, an alumna of the University of Texas at Arlington, was named the 2015 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State School Officers. She was recognized in a ceremony on April 29 at the White House in Washington, D.C. She received the award from President Obama, who said that teachers often don't get the recognition they deserve for giving so selflessly of their time and talents. Obama praised Peeples for protecting and believing in her students.
Peeples is the first Texan to be named National Teacher of the Year since 1957, and the first UT Arlington graduate to receive the honor. Peeples completed her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in 2013 through Academic Partnerships’ online program, which allowed her to complete her studies while continuing to teach in the classroom. She teaches English at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo, which has a large population of refugee and economically disadvantaged students.
The National Teacher of the Year program was created in 1952 and is the oldest, most prestigious national honors program that recognizes excellence in teaching. The National Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the state Teachers of the Year by a selection committee comprised of representatives from major national education organizations. Applicants undergo a rigorous selection process after submitting a written application, letters of recommendation and personal essays on a range of education topics. From all applicants, the selection committee choses four finalists and choses the Teacher of the Year after interviews with each finalist.
As Teacher of the Year, Peeples will spend a year traveling nationally and internationally as a spokesperson and advocate for the teaching profession.
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