The Norman Transcript

January 26, 2013

Noble names teacher of the year nominees

By Jocelyn Pedersen
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Site candidates in the running for district title

NOBLE — One teacher from each of Noble’s schools has been named site teachers of the year.

Jon Myers, director of curriculum, said teachers are nominated and elected by their peers. Each school winner goes before a committee made up of teachers, members of the community, the school board and the PTA who will conduct interviews and select the district teacher of the year.

Myers said the announcement will be a surprise for the teacher and will be “announced spontaneously.”

The following teachers have been named teacher of the year at their respective schools:

· Lori Sanden teaches pre-K at Katherine I. Daily and has taught for 12 years overall. Married to Patrick Sanden, who is in the military, they’ve moved around quite a bit. The couple has three grown daughters. Sanden said she was a stay-at-home mom until her youngest went to kindergarten.

Originally from Montana, Sanden graduated from Montana State University with a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education. At one time, she was a teacher’s assistant in Nebraska for two years and later taught at a private school in Moore for seven years.

After living in Nebraska, her husband was again stationed in Oklahoma. The couple wanted to live in Moore on an acreage, but when they couldn’t find anything, they ended up in Noble where she says, “We love it.” She said there was an opening at KID and she applied.

“It’s such an honor to be the KID teacher of the year,” Sanden said. “I work with great people and the pre-K team with four teachers — we all just really work well together. All the teachers at KID are great. (They’re) all professional and help you when you need it. Noble is a great school district to work for.”

· Heather Wustenfeld teaches first grade at John K. Hubbard Elementary. She’s been a teacher for six years and has also taught second and third grades. She received her Bachelor of Science in elementary education from the University of Oklahoma. She’s married to Anthony Wustenfeld and the couple has two children, Cooper and Cash.

Formerly, Wustenfeld said she was the associate children’s pastor for two years at Journey Church, where several church families from Noble said “amazing things” about Noble, so when a teaching position came open, she applied.

“It’s a larger school district with a small-town feel,” Wustenfeld said. “It has very nice people.”

Of being named Hubbard Teacher of the Year, Wustenfeld said, “I just thought it was an incredible experience and that my teachers would nominate me, it was a humbling moment.”

· Amanda Wilson, a fifth-grade teacher, has been teaching for seven years at Pioneer Intermediate School, where she also has taught fourth grade. Wilson graduated from Noble High School in 2001 and attended East Central University in Ada, where she graduated with a degree in elementary education.

Wilson said she’s currently attending the University of Oklahoma to obtain her mathematics specialist certification. She lives in Noble with her husband, Zack Wilson, and two children, Garrett and Claire.

“It’s such an honor to be named teacher of the year at a school that I attended myself,” Wilson said. “To teach alongside teachers that influenced me to become the teacher that I am today is a true blessing. I hope to inspire my students in the same way.”

· Deanna Wyche is a science teacher and coach at Curtis Inge Middle School. She teaches seventh- and eighth-grade science and is the seventh-grade girls’ basketball coach. In her fifth year at Noble, she also taught for four years at Byng Public Schools.

She earned her Bachelor of Science from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and her Master of Education in school counseling from East Central University.

“It is an honor to be named teacher of the year, considering all the great teachers we have at the middle school,” Wyche said. “It is always nice to be recognized by your peers.”

· Betina Jones-Parra teaches Algebra 2, pre-calculus and AP calculus at Noble High. Jones-Parra is a veteran teacher with 21 years of experience teaching high school. Formerly, she taught at Norman North and Moore high schools.

She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from the University of Oklahoma as well as hours toward her doctorate in the same field. She has mathematics certification from the University of Oklahoma. Married to Ricky Collins from Noble, the couple has two grown children, Danielle and Matthew Schlegel.

“My favorite thing about teaching is to watch the light bulb go on behind a student’s eyes,” Jones-Parra said. “For instance, yesterday a student asked me about four or five times the same question, ‘How are you picking those numbers?’ I answered every time. He would go away and come back again or call me again. All of a sudden, I hear this, ‘Ah, I get it. You are finding the square root’ (which is what I told him several times). At that moment, I knew that he now owned that knowledge.”

The committee will conduct interviews in late February to choose Noble’s district teacher of the year.

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