Inspiration From National, State Teachers of the Year

2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples
2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples

It was my distinct honor and privilege to serve as AACTE’s representative on the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) National Teacher of the Year Selection Committee this year.

Reading through the 56 applications from every U.S. state and territory was such a joy, as every single candidate is truly using amazing talents and hard work to educate students. Programs such as CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year program are an important reminder that in the midst of policy debates, budget cuts, and constantly increasing scrutiny, teachers are going to work every day and touching the lives of their students in unimaginable ways.

From this stellar pool of applicants, we ultimately selected Shanna Peeples, an 11th grade teacher at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo, Texas, as the 2015 National Teacher of the Year. Her dedication to reaching kids of all backgrounds and abilities is evidenced through her role as both an AP English teacher and a FLEX English (night school) teacher. Many of her students are refugees who speak English as a second language and come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Additionally, she serves as a mentor to other teachers in her school.

Peeples received her bachelor’s degree in English from West Texas A&M University and her master’s degree in education with a focus in curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Read AACTE’s press release honoring Peeples, the other three finalists, and their educator preparation programs.

View Peeples’ interview on CBS This Morning.

Read more about Peeples on the CCSSO web site.

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Lucy Berrier

Board Liaison and Special Projects Coordinator, AACTE