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November 17, 2009

Top teacher

Jennings revealed as DPS teacher of the year

DUNCAN — In the moments after the announcement, two things happened. People stood in applause and Patty Jennings’ hand raised to her mouth.

Jennings, Mark Twain Elementary music teacher, was selected at the teacher of the year for Duncan Public Schools. This was revealed during the annual reception Tuesday in First Baptist Church.

“I’m just kind of shaky,” Jennings said. “I had three other people in my head, and I kept waiting for their names. There’s so many wonderful, deserving people.”

The 10 teacher of the year candidates were introduced by their principals. When JoAnn Pierce, Mark Twain principal, introduced Jennings, Pierce got emotional.

Pierce, having been a teacher of the year, knew what it took to earn the recognition. She said she knew Jennings had what it took because she was always trying to find ways to make music education more accessible for students.

Jennings said being named the 2009 teacher of the year was the last thing on her mind.

“I think I’m still in shock,” Jennings said. “I never anticipated this. I’m very honored my colleagues have honored me in this way.”

Jennings is one of only a few teachers in Oklahoma working to get a National Board Certification in the newly stated discipline of music. She said she is excited to work toward that goal because she wants to find ways to improve in areas.

“It gives you new insight into things you’ve done well,” Jennings said. “There’s always new ideas out there.”

She said she has enjoyed working with the 260 students at Mark Twain and likes getting to introduce Duncan Middle School sixth-graders to music through the music appreciation program.

Jennings said she wanted to find ways to keep students interested in music and to peak that initial interest.

“I want to keep growing professionally,” she said.

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