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National Teacher of the Year to Visit UM

Shanna Peeples, the 2015 National Teacher of the Year, is set to visit UM April 19.
Shanna Peeples, the 2015 National Teacher of the Year, is set to visit UM April 19.

Shanna Peeples, the 2015 National Teacher of the Year, will visit the University of Mississippi on Tuesday (April 19) for an event hosted by the UM School of Education.

Peeples will speak to Ole Miss students, faculty and staff at 10:30 a.m. at the E.F. Yerby Conference Center. And at 1 p.m. Wednesday (April 20), she will speak with students at the DeSoto Center in Southaven.

An 11th-grade English teacher at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo, Texas, Peeples held several jobs before becoming an educator, including stints as a disc jockey, medical assistant, pet-sitter and journalist. However, the 12-year teacher said the profession chose her, in a way, noting how childhood teachers inspired her.

“I had great teachers who were lights during the dark places in my life,” Peeples said. “They put books and paper in front of me and showed me that words can take you up and out of the worst situations. I wanted to be that for students.”

This is the fifth time the university has hosted the National Teacher of the Year since 2011, when UM education Dean David Rock began the tradition of inviting the nation’s most honored K-12 teacher to meet with students.

“This is a huge opportunity for anyone who has an interest in the teaching profession, especially student teachers who will lead their own classrooms next year,” Rock said. “I am always extremely impressed by the National Teacher of the Year and I believe it’s important for our students to meet the person representing the teaching profession for our country. I know this will be an outstanding presentation.”

In Amarillo, many of Peeples’ students live in poverty, leading to a number of classroom challenges. But the educator’s philosophy seeks to instill hope in each of her students.

“My students have shaped the kind of teacher I am,” Peeples said. “They’ve taught me to never make a promise I can’t keep, because so many already have already learned to see the world through suspicious eyes. I remember this so I can gain their trust because I want them to read and write their way out of where they are.”

Peeples’ holds an associate degree from Amarillo College, a bachelor’s degree from West Texas A&M University and master’s degree in education from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Founded in 1952, the National Teacher of the Year Program is an honor program focusing on excellence in teaching. An honoree is chosen annually from the state teachers of the year and is appointed by the president of the United States. Each National Teacher of the Year spends the next year traveling around the nation and world serving as a public advocate for the teaching profession.

For more information about the NTOY, visit http://www.ccsso.org/ntoy/About_the_Program.html.

Courtesy of Liz McCromick and the Ole Miss News Desk

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Adam Brown
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