Norman Public Schools named its five 2021 District Teacher of the Year finalists Friday, recognizing educators from across disciplines.

The district will name its Teacher of the Year winner at April’s Celebration of Excellence event. The District Teacher of the Year, chosen based on an interview, their portfolio and a video entry, will go on to compete for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

“These exceptional individuals represent the very best of what it means to be an educator,” Superintendent Nick Migliorino said in a statement. “Norman Public Schools teachers are among the best in the state and these five serve as leaders in the profession. We truly appreciate all of our educators and the steadfast support they have provided to our students during a trying year. I am so proud of these finalists and wish them the best as they move forward in the selection process.”

NPS named Jessica Eschbach, then a teacher librarian at Kennedy Elementary, as its 2020 District Teacher of the Year, presenting her with the title during a car parade in April.

The finalists include the following:

Erin Carpenter

  • , a kindergarten and second-grade virtual teacher at McKinley Elementarywho has been with NPS during her eight-year career.

Meredith Ziegler

  • , a music teacher at Roosevelt Elementary,who has been in her current position for four years and has 11 years of experience. She was previously Oklahoma City Public Schools District Teacher of the Year and an Oklahoma Rising Star Educator.

Juan Renteria,

  • a fifth-grade teacher at Truman Elementary who has taught with NPS for six years and received NPS Rookie Teacher of the Year and Oklahoma Exemplary Educator.

Kathy Outlaw

  • , an English, language arts and yearbook teacher at Alcott Middle School with 11 years of experience, including seven with NPS.

Stephanie Young

  • , a special education, English and language arts teacher at Longfellow Middle School. who has 15 years of teaching experience and is an Oklahoma Army Guard veteran.

Emma Keith covers Norman Public Schools and the University of Oklahoma for The Transcript. Reach her at or at @emma_ckeith.

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Emma Keith covers the coronavirus pandemic and education for The Norman Transcript, with a focus on Norman Public Schools and The University of Oklahoma. She is a 2019 OU graduate.