Teachers of the year?

This year’s Duncan Public Schools teacher of the year candidates are Audie Dourrough, Dana Jackson, Dilynn Hare, Sandra Hurst, Kelly Pollock, Dede Lee, Cindy Bradburry, Todd Ledford and Jeanna Russell. Shantika Scott is also a teacher of the year candidate.

Growing up, everyone had a favorite teacher.

And several favorite teachers in Duncan have been recognized as the teacher of the year candidates. The winner of the title will be announced during a ceremony at 4 p.m. Nov. 16.

This year’s teacher of the year candidates include Dede Lee, Shantika Scott, Audie Dourrough, Dana Jackson, Dilynn Hare, Cindy Bradburry, Jeanna Russell, Kelly Pollock, Sandra Hurst and Todd Ledford. Each of the teachers expressed excitement and an array of emotions in being nominated for the award.

Here is more about the teachers:

- Dede Lee, Will Rogers Pre-Kindergarten teacher, said she is excited about being chosen by her peers to represent the school in the teacher of the year competition.

Lee said she enjoys working with pre-kindergarten students and the other teachers at the school.

“I love what I do,” Lee said. “I enjoy what I do. I work hard for my school. It’s great to be recognized.”

- Shantika Scott is a third-grade teacher at Emerson Elementary. Scott was unavailable for comment.

- Audie Dourrough said his job doesn’t revolve around a conventional classroom, which he said makes him standout in the mind of his peers. Dourrough is the special education teacher at Horace Mann Elementary.

“It’s an honor to be nominated by my peers,” Dourrough said. “I’m not a conventional teacher. I come from outside the educational realm.”

He said he enjoys working with other teachers and tries to help them to the best of his ability.

“I try to make myself accessible to other teacher for their teaching needs,” Dourrough said.

- Dana Jackson has also moved outside the traditional classroom setting. While Jackson was once a grade teacher at Mark Twain, she has become a Title I reading teacher for the school.

“It’s been a little bit different because I don’t have a regular class,” Jackson said.

She said she didn’t realize she had made such an impact on her fellow teachers at Mark Twain, but is happy to represent the school. She said any of the nominated teachers could win the competition because they’re all outstanding in the district.

“It is quite an honor to be in this category among great teachers,” Jackson said. “I’m humbled. I think any of us could have been nominated.”

- Dilynn Hare is another third-grade teacher nominated for teacher of the year for the district. Hare teaches at Plato Elementary.

Hare said she was excited about the nomination, especially because she considers the teachers at Plato Elementary to possess what it takes to represent the school.

“It’s an honor,” Hare said. “There’s a lot of special teachers.”

She said she wants students to enjoy going to school, and that has been one of her primary goals in teaching.

“I just want to make the learning experience fun,” Hare said. “I want them to be ready to come to school.”

- Cindy Bradburry is the last elementary teacher nominated for teacher of the year and is also a third grade teacher. Bradburry teaches at Woodrow Wilson Elementary.

Bradburry said she went through a range of emotions when she realize she was nominated for the top teaching acknowledgment in Duncan.

“(I feel) like anybody else, honored,” Bradburry said. “I was shocked. There’s many other teachers who deserve this.”

She said one of the best parts of the nomination is being recognized for doing something she loves.

“It’s just always been a calling for me,” Bradburry said. “I love seeing the kids achieve. It’s very rewarding.”

- Jeanna Russell is a seventh-grade science teacher at Duncan Middle School.

Russell said she is passionate about what she teaches and wants the students to be passionate about science, too.

“I teach science,” Russell said. “I try to make science fun. I want them to continue studying science throughout school.”

She said she works with many great teachers at DMS and is overwhelmed they would choose her to represent the school.

“I’m very excited and honored,” Russell said. “My team of teachers were really excited for me.”

- Kelly Pollock teaches science at both the EDGE Academy and the Duncan High School. But it’s the former for which Pollock was chosen as a teacher of the year candidate.

Pollock said the teachers at the EDGE Academy are the teachers who won’t give up on students. He said he likes being a part of that idea. He said he likes being able to make a difference and meeting other teachers who feel the same way.

So, to be recognized by those teaches is something he holds in high regard.

“It’s really neat to be a part and to be recognized,” Pollock said. “There are so many good teachers in this district.”

- Sandra Hurst and Todd Ledford were both chosen to represent the Duncan High School in the teacher of the year competition. Hurst is an English teacher, and Ledford is a science teacher and cross-country coach. Hurst and Ledford are both DHS alumni.

Hurst said she was honored that her former teachers would think highly enough of her to select her as a representative of the school.

“Being a graduate of Duncan High School and being there to teach makes this a very special honor,” Hurst said.

Ledford agreed and said he has enjoyed getting to know his former instructors on a different level.

“It is an honor to be recognized by those who taught us,” Ledford said.

Hurst said she thought Ledford and her return to Duncan to teach was a good model for students because it shows they care about Duncan and Duncan Public Schools.

“It’s good for them to see we have enough pride in our community to come back,” Hurst said.

— Derrick Miller is a reporter for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 144, or via e-mail at derrick.miller@duncanbanner.com.

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