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Texas Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples Named Finalist for National Teacher of the Year

Shanna Peeples 01.14.2015 — TASA Executive Director Johnny Veselka today congratulated Shanna Peeples, the 2015 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, for being named one of four finalists for 2015 National Teacher of the Year. Peeples is an English teacher at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo ISD.
 
TASA administers the Texas Teacher of the Year program and serves as Texas’ state coordinator for the National Teacher of the Year program, which is run by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and identifies exceptional teachers in the country, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, amplifies their voices, and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels.

“We are honored to recognize Shanna Peeples as an outstanding educator who truly connects with her students, showing them that the possibilities for their future are limitless,” said Veselka. “She cultivates a collaborative, engaging learning environment, serving as a model for her colleagues throughout the teaching profession.”

Peeples worked as a disc jockey, medical assistant, pet sitter and journalist before becoming a teacher, a profession that she says eventually chose her. She taught seventh-grade English Language Arts for about six years before moving to the high school level. Peeples teaches AP English and serves as the English department chair as well as an instructional coach for other teachers.

“My students, survivors of deep and debilitating trauma, have shaped the kind of teacher I am,” said Peeples. “They have taught me to never make a promise I can’t keep because so many already have learned to see the world through suspicious eyes. To be the best teacher to them, I have to remember this and honor their background. I remember so I can gain their trust because I want them to read and write their way out of where they are.”
 
Peeples was named the 2015 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year in October 2014, when she was chosen to represent Texas in the National Teacher of the Year program. That program, presented by Voya, is a project of CCSSO in partnership with People to People Ambassador Programs. Every year, exemplary teachers from each state, the U.S. extra-state territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity are selected as State Teachers of the Year. From that group, the National Teacher of the Year is then selected by a panel representing 15 renowned education organizations, which collectively represent more than 7 million educators.
 
President Barack Obama will recognize the National Teacher of the Year in a White House ceremony this spring.
 
For more information on the Texas Teacher of the Year program, visit https://www.tasanet.org/txtoy.
 
For more information on the National Teacher of the Year program, including previous recipients, visit http://www.ccsso.org/ntoy.html.