Superintendent of the 2015 National Teacher of the Year Shares a Few Insights

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By Francesca Duffy
At last night's National Teacher of the Year recognition dinner in Washington, D.C., AASA member Rod Schroder (Amarillo, Texas) gave a few words of advice to the state teacher-winners: "You all  have a say in education policy at a high level. I hope you take advantage of the platform you have been given." Schroder is the superintendent of Shanna Peeples, the 2015 national teacher of the year who was honored at a White House ceremony yesterday afternoon.

Schroder also spoke about how he recently visited with Peeples' students to ask what it was that made their teacher special. Here are a few of their comments that he shared:

*She uses puppets and funny voices from characters in books. (Schroder made sure to explain that Peeples teaches high school students!)

*She dances in class!

*She wants us to learn for ourselves, not for a test.

Her students see authenticity in her, and she understands their stuggles, added Schroder. "But she will also tell you that she is just a representative of all the teacher warriors in her district and state," he said.

When it was Peeples' turn to speak, she told her fellow colleagues to continue to tell the stories of the students in their classrooms. "Our critics love cliches and manipulated data. But stories are different. We advocate for our kids and professions when we tell our stories."

People are notoriously difficult to standardize, she said, but stories stay after data fades.

For more background on Peeples, check out this article from Education Week Teacher.

Rod Schroder     Shanna Peeples
 Superintendent Rod Schroder, Amarillo, Texas               2015 National Teacher of the Year Shanna Peeples, Amarillo, Texas

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