A Vanoss Elementary School teacher has advanced to the final round in the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year competition.
Prekindergarten teacher Susan Rindal is one of 12 finalists for the state title which recognizes educators with a track record of creative and imaginative teaching. The State Department of Education introduced the finalists at a news conference Wednesday, and the winner of the 2014 competition will be announced at the Oklahoma State Fair in September.
Rindal said she learned about the honor earlier this summer, when State Superintendent Janet Barresi invited her to Wednesday’s Vision 2020 conference in Oklahoma City. The Department of Education hosted the conference for teachers and administrators.
Rindal said she was shocked when Barresi told her she was one of the finalists for the honor.
“I just do my job, and I don’t really believe I do it better than anybody else,” Rindal said in a phone interview. “It was very overwhelming.”
A native of Montana, Rindal earned her degree in elementary education from Montana State University, according to the Vanoss Public Schools website. She taught school in Montana for 12 years before moving to Oklahoma, where she earned certification in kindermusik — an early-childhood program combining music and movement — early childhood education and other subjects.
She earned a master’s degree in reading from East Central University and was certified as a reading specialist in 2010.
Rindal is a member of the Professional Educators Association and serves as secretary/treasurer of the Vanoss chapter, according to information from the district. She was named Vanoss’ teacher of the year for 2013-14 from a group that included Vanoss Middle School science teacher Carlene Henderson and Vanoss High School art teacher Cori Carter.
Rindal said her passion for teaching was the key to her success.
“I love teaching and I love my kids, and that just comes through, I guess,” she said.
Vanoss Superintendent Marjana Tharp did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
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