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MOORE, Okla. (Dec. 17, 2021) – Five Moore Public Schools teachers were selected as finalists for the Teacher of the Year with the winner to be announced in spring 2022. These top five finalists were selected among all MPS school site Teachers of the Year from this fall. The winner has the chance to compete for the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Oklahoma Teacher of the Year honor, which is announced in fall of 2022. 

MPS Superintendent Dr. Robert Romines, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Michelle McNear, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education David Peak, Dean of Academics Shannon Woodson and Social Studies/Business Education Coordinator David Burton delivered the news in person to each of the finalists. 

Mindy Cowley is a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) in literacy: reading/language arts, has taught first through third grade at South Lake Elementary for nine years and has been in the classroom for 19 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and general science from Oklahoma City University and a master’s degree in family and child studies from the University of Central Oklahoma. Over the years she has held active memberships with education-based professional organizations, she is an MPS Infinite Campus coach, has been a site technician, a trainer and a presenter. She was also selected Teacher of the Year at Kingsgate Elementary in 2005. 

“Once I was in the classroom, it became very clear that teaching is my God-given calling. I love working with students, teaching them how to read, how to do math problems, and all the other jobs a teacher takes on. 

“I’m more aware of the skills and concepts my students need to learn, and I work with teams in my building, throughout the district and local colleges to ensure continuous student growth through vertical alignment and aligning curriculum guides to our current standards and skills,” said Cowley.

Phillip Revolinski has taught 8th-grade honors and regular reading for three years at Brink Junior High and has taught for 19 years. A graduate of Northwestern High School in Kokomo, IN he later earned an associate degree in education from Tulsa Community College and a bachelor’s degree in education from Northeastern State University. He taught reading with Polk County Public Schools and geography with Bartlesville Public Schools. He has served as a mentor for new teachers and on various committees while at Brink.

“As teachers, we have the power to build students' self-confidence, support them with consistent praise, and listen intently when they need someone to talk to. The underlying factor for me is to mold students into leaders, citizens and compassionate people by constantly modeling reverence.”

Jenni Walker has taught 7th and 8th grade language arts and reading for seven years at Central Junior High a has been a teacher for 26 years. A graduate of Midwest City High School, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English Education from the UCO. She taught 8th-grade language arts with Mid-Del Public Schools for 19 years before coming to MPS. She has held numerous chairperson and sponsor positions over the years and has been named Teacher of the Year twice with Mid-Del PS before earning the title this year at MPS.

“Serving as the department chairperson allows me to facilitate professional development with language arts teachers. As the state’s academic standards change, we work together to develop lessons that promote that change. As the world around us changes, we work together to find new ways to fill the gaps our students now have. My greatest accomplishments involve my students developing a love of reading. I’m so proud when a resistant reader turns the corner,” Walker said.  

Alona Whitebird was graduating from UCO when she was told of her Top Five award and joined via FaceTime. She has taught AP U.S. History, Ethnic Studies and U.S. History: 1877-Present at Southmoore High School for five years. She is a graduate of Moore High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in history education from the UCO in 2016 and her master’s degree in history this month, also through UCO. She is a master teacher through the Gilder Lehrman Institute and this year was honored as the Gilder Lehrman State History Teacher of the Year. She earned the James Madison Fellowship in 2019 and was named in the AP Teach Appreciation Contest in 2018.

“I am committed to creating a space for love, justice and compassion in my classroom and I rest my accomplishments on this foundation. I strengthen and improve the teaching profession by advocating for my students’ needs and ensuring they leave my classroom with real-world skills to make a difference in our community,” said Whitebird.

Ashley Wright has taught music to students at Heritage Trails Elementary for almost five years and has been in the classroom for nine. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Oklahoma Baptist University and is a member of the Oklahoma Music Education Association. She was selected as the Masonic Teacher of Today and was selected as a News 9 Teacher of the Day, both in 2021. 

“My greatest contributions and accomplishments in education are seen in my students. My willingness to do anything and everything for my students is sometimes considered a fault, seen as being ‘too extra,’ but it is something I will never regret doing. These amazing students are the future and every student is worth everything I can give,” said Wright. 

To see available teaching and support positions at Moore Public Schools visit or call 405-735-4000.