Educators of Excellence

Stafford North and Sarah Horton

School of Education alumni are changing the world one teacher at a time. Chair of the department, Dr. Darin Martin believes the long list of acclaimed teachers emanates from the top-notch students who enroll in the program. These students join a faculty with high expectations. 

“Our faculty know what to teach, and it is quite rigorous. By graduation students have proven themselves by logging more than 200 hours observing or teaching in the classroom. They are ready to lead and inspire their own classes,” said Dr. Martin.

The reputation of OC alumni permeates the region, but hiring an OC alum is more difficult than you might think. Seniors walk across the graduation stage with multiple offers.

“We know the character and integrity piece is in place when we hire an OC graduate. I don’t worry at all about what kind of mentor they are in a classroom,” said Rick Mendenhall of Mid-Del Technology Center. 

  • Teacher Education students clock more than 200 classroom hours before graduating.
Teacher Education students clock more than 200 classroom hours before graduating.

The evidence starts with even the newest graduates. Principal Taylor Morris of Poteet H.S. in Mesquite, Texas observed OC graduate Ty Davis (15) in his classroom. Ty soon received an email stating, “You did AWESOME! Really, I would NEVER have known that you are a first year teacher. Your skills as a teacher far exceed other new teachers.” Rachel (Dobbs) Dudley (16) received a similar note from her principal within her first month of teaching. “You do not appear to be a new teacher. You are so strong!” Only ten months after graduating, Amanda Pace (17) received the Rising Star Award in Crowley, Texas and was recognized at halftime of the SMU football game for great work, dedication to the profession, and her early promise for an impactful and fulfilling career in education.

The Oklahoma Higher Education Reading Council named 2011, stand-out graduate Madeline Mahan, Outstanding Beginning Literacy Teacher, plus she was selected to attend training at the renowned Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia (You’ve likely seen some of the academy’s dance moves from the school’s viral video on YouTube). Madeline draws her teaching inspiration from the New Testament.

“Jesus calls us to a different kind of community, one built on quality time, grace, and trust. Jesus created a safe space for people of all different backgrounds and beliefs to learn and live life together. He told people the truth about who they were and who they were meant to be while serving them in love. I attempt to follow this example in my classroom; to serve my students through relationship so they can go change the world,” said Madeline.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children selected Cody Summerville (14) as one of only two national young educators to attend a teachers’ reception at the White House. Also, Cody teamed up with Hector Rivera at the NAEYC national conference to present a workshop on finding balance as an emerging leader. Cody believes the unique aspects of OC contribute to the success he has found in his career.

“Even after I had graduated, professors continued to be a resource and friends kept in touch because we had built something together that mattered more than our physical proximity to each other. Because of OC’s example and support, I was able to create the same kind of community in my classroom. These relationships with students, their families, and fellow teachers have been the key to any success I’ve seen as a teacher,” said Cody.

In 1960, when Oklahoma Christian began offering bachelor’s degrees, education was among its first four majors. Thousands of OC graduates are teachers and administrators. Their many honors are a clear indication that the 134 current majors will have a great opportunity to succeed.

Award Winning Educators 

Superstar Teacher, Emily Campbell (17), Delta Kappa Gamma award, Julianne Stinson Elson (14), two-time winner of Conoco Phillips Math Teacher of the Month, Haley Efird Galyean (12), State finalist for Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, Kristin Lovejoy (12), Polar Educators International Council, Megan Collier Gunderson (09), Butler-Cooley Teaching Award, Scott Filleman (05),  Teacher of the Year, Ryan McDonald (00), National Science Foundation fellowship, Sammie Marshall (08).

Site Teacher of the Year

(Award recipients since 2015)

Tiffany (Stafford) Robles (10), Mindi Mendez (10), Linzi (Farris) Clem (10), Jennifer (Rampton) Simonds (11), Lydia Carlton (11), Britt Barrientez (11), Sarah Roberts (13), Wendy Billingsley 

Fall 2018

View more stories from the Fall 2018 issue of Vision magazine.