Teacher of the Year_AE

Christie Buckner (center) speaks after receiving her award for Enid Public Schools’ 2020-21 Teacher of the Year, as Superintendent Darrell Floyd (left) and EPS Foundation Executive Director Janna Jackson look on, during the EPS Foundation Education Celebration in this Feb. 24 file photo in the Enid High School gym. Buckner is a physical education teacher at Monroe Elementary School. (Alexander Ewald / Enid News & Eagle)

ENID, Okla. — Enid Public Schools teachers who were recognized in February as nominees for the district’s Teacher of the Year now all can apply for the state’s competition this fall.

One Teacher of the Year winner from every state-approved or accredited school site will be allowed to apply for the statewide honor, the state Department of Education announced Wednesday.

According to the OSDE, the change is meant to elicit a broader representation of teachers from across the state and to ensure every Oklahoma educator is eligible for recognition, especially in districts that do not select a district-level teacher of the year.

Along with this year’s EPS Teacher of the Year, all 17 EPS site nominees, one from each building, can apply for the state award.

EPS teachers are first chosen from their building peers, then selected for the top honor by a committee.

Christie Buckner, who teaches physical education at Monroe Elementary School, was named EPS’ 2020-21 Teacher of the Year at a ceremony in February and will automatically move on to the state level.

EPS communications director Jane Johnson said the district notified all the teacher nominees of the change Wednesday for them to consider applying.

The application packet is due Aug. 31, and the winner will be named in March 2022.

The Oklahoma Teacher of the Year serves as the state’s ambassador of teaching, sharing knowledge and resources with fellow educators around Oklahoma while encouraging education as a profession, during a one-year sabbatical tour of the state. They will also represent Oklahoma in the national program.

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Ewald is copy editor and city/education reporter for the Enid News & Eagle.

Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Send an email to aewald@enidnews.com.

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