Oklahoma 2023 Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 12, 2022) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister today revealed the 12 finalists for Oklahoma’s next Teacher of the Year.

“These finalists represent some of the top teaching talent in Oklahoma,” Hofmeister said. “They are exceptional individuals who have a tremendous heart for their students and an unwavering dedication to the teaching profession.”

The 2023 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year will be named in March. Beginning July 1, the honoree will assume full-time Teacher of the Year duties, which include speaking engagements and serving as Oklahoma’s ambassador for teachers. Teacher of the Year finalists are selected by a cross-section of leading educators, lawmakers and civic leaders representing all regions of the state.

The 2022 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, Rebecka Peterson, will continue touring Oklahoma until July.

Hofmeister was joined by the finalists during an announcement today at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.

Southmoore High School Social Studies Teacher Alona Whitebird is one of the 12 finalists for Teacher of the Year.  

Whitebird said, "An outstanding teacher is someone who goes beyond the content to see their students. Fantastic teachers are passionate about their subject area, but, more importantly, they are passionate about being a cheerleader for their students.

"I believe fantastic teachers are a model for their students, showcasing the tenets of hard work, dedication and perseverance." 

The other state finalists are: 

  • Kelsee Arnold, Broken Arrow Public Schools
  • Marcy Boudreaux-Johnson, Deer Creek Public Schools
  • Emily Boyett, Edmond Public Schools
  • Rob Bradshaw, Norman Public Schools
  • Julie Cryer, Junks Public Schools
  • Traci Manuel, Tulsa Public Schools
  • Rexanne McCrary, Union Public Schools
  • Tenille Mehl, Noble Public Schools
  • Julie Osburn, Pryor Public Schools
  • William Pepper, Cushing Public Schools
  • Steven Smith, Lawton Public Schools


Story courtesy of the Oklahoma State Department of Education.