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TPS Teacher Finalists Named

Five Tulsa Public Schools teachers have been named District Teacher of the Year finalists. They are:
• Patricia Curtis-Dunbar, third grade teacher at Celia Clinton Elementary School;
• Emily Durbin, U.S. and AP U.S. history teacher at Hale High School;
• Tara Gordon, gifted and talented teacher at Thoreau Demonstration Academy;
• Elizabeth Noordyke, math teacher at McLain Jr. High School; and
• Shaniqua Ray, math teacher at Monroe Demonstration Academy.

Patricia Curtis-Dunbar has 13 years of teaching experience. She has been at Celia Clinton Elementary School for seven years and is currently teaching third grade. As a team leader, she enjoys mentoring young teachers and serves as the site technology coordinator.

Emily Durbin is a graduate of Tulsa Public Schools and is in her fourth year of teaching U.S. History and AP U.S. History at Nathan Hale High School. Durbin was inspired by her teachers in school to become an educator. She has created partnerships with neighborhood associations to foster community support of Nathan Hale and organized school-wide initiatives to connect students with the community.

Tara Gordon began her 17-year teaching career at Tulsa Public Schools after graduating from the University of Tulsa. She is a proud Tulsa Public Schools graduate. Gordon previously served as lead teacher at Mayo Demonstration School where she developed curriculum, organized overnight field studies and led school-wide professional development. She then moved to Thoreau where she began teaching ELA, before moving into gifted education. The projects and daily activities in Gordon’s GT classroom push students to engage with each other, communicate and have fun.

Elizabeth Noordyke is in her fourth year of teaching math at McLain Junior and Senior High School. Noordyke came to Tulsa Public Schools through Teach for America and stayed after her two-year commitment ended. She has been instrumental in bringing “Teach to One: Math” to McLain and has seen significant gains in student achievement with the program. Noordyke is also a member of McLain’s instructional leadership team and will bring Model United Nations to McLain.

Shaniqua Ray teaches math at Monroe Demonstration Academy. Her teaching career started in Honduras where she taught math and English. Her love for math began in high school where she had a math teacher that saw something in her that she did not see in herself. Ray’s passion for youth began long before her teaching career. In 2012, she co-founded a tutoring and mentor program called Give Em’ Hope, which commits to helping youth overcome barriers to academic success.

TPS’ 2018 District Teacher of the Year will be announced in the spring.

Updated 04-19-2018

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