Two East Central University graduates – Mara Richards and Susan Rindal – are two of 12 nominees for the State of Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Award, it was recently announced.
The state’s Teacher of the Year will be announced at the Oklahoma State Fair later this month in Oklahoma City. The winner will take part in the national Teacher of the Year competition and serve as Oklahoma’s ambassador of teaching, according to Regional University System of Oklahoma Regent Richard Ogden.
Richards received a master’s degree in library media from ECU after completing her bachelor’s degree in biology from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She teaches at Durant Middle School in Durant.
ECU also graduated Rindal, who earned a master’s degree in reading education. She teaches at Vanoss Elementary School in Vanoss.
“At ECU, we have adopted a continuous improvement model that utilizes input from parents, employers and other stakeholders, as well as assessment data to ensure our programs are effective,” said Brenda Walling, dean of ECU’s College of Education and Psychology. “Mara and Susan’s successes in the school library and classroom show our graduates are prepared for the challenges of teaching. They continue ECU’s long, proud history of preparing outstanding teachers.”
Alumni that have gone through the ECU program have ultimately been named Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. Most of this year’s nominees actually graduated from the Regional University System of Oklahoma universities, the state’s traditional teacher education schools.
“Seven of the 12 nominees earned degrees from one of our six universities,” said Ogden. “Since voters included these schools in our constitution as a vital part of the state’s vision for the future, we have recognized the importance of education and of dynamic teachers for Oklahoma’s growth and well-being.”
Some 87 percent of the system’s graduates stay in Oklahoma and return almost $10 in benefits for every $1 of state resources spent on the students’ education, Ogden said.