WASHINGTON—NEA member Rebecka Peterson, a high school math teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is the 2023 Teacher of the Year.
Rebecka is a 10th- through 12th-grade math teacher with a love for her students and a steadfast determination to show the joy that can exist in a classroom. She does this through her “One Good Thing” blog, where she writes daily about something good that happened in her class. She encourages her students to do the same in their own journals, working to show students the power and joy that can come from learning.
“The best teachers understand how their roles are not just about contributing to an excellent education, but also to their community. And Rebecka is certainly one of those teachers,” said NEA President Becky Pringle. “Her ability to tap into students’ joy and form authentic bonds and her dedication to making learning truly accessible embodies what it means to be an outstanding educator. On behalf of the NEA’s three million members, we congratulate Rebecka for this much-deserved award.”
Peterson believes in storytelling and uses her platform as a teacher and an internet persona to highlight the beauty in everyday life. Rebecka is also passionate about equity and makes her lessons accessible to all. Additionally, Rebecka was recently recognized as one of six state-level finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
“Since Rebecka was named the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, she has traveled all over the state to report on more stories of hope, creativity, and joy in classrooms. She is truly passionate about the power of teachers and what it means to be a leader for your students and the community,” said Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) President Katherine Bishop. “This is a remarkable honor, and all of us at the OEA want to congratulate Rebecka. We are proud to have her represent our state and union.”
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced the five finalists for the 2023 National Teacher of the Year in January. CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year program identifies exceptional teachers, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, engages them in a year of professional learning, amplifies their voices, and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels.
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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at www.nea.org.
- Celeste Busser
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