UNDATED, OK (KSWO)- Two educators from Southwest Oklahoma are among the twelve finalists for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.
Charmin Holland of Duncan and Kristen Dover of Cache were named teacher of the year for their own district at a summer conference in Edmond.
They were selected after their applications were reviewed by a qualified panel of judges.
Charmin Holland teaches kindergarten at Woodrow Wilson Elementary in Duncan. She has been an educator for 19 years. She loves being a teacher because she gets to work with students and focus one on one with them.
"At this level I'm able to give them a foundation, but I get to work with their parents, I get to work with the community members”, said Holland. “I love being a teacher because it's an entire process that we go through and we are not by ourselves”, said Holland.
Kristen Dover teaches fourth grade at Cache Intermediate Elementary School. She has been an educator for 10 years. For her it’s all about the kids.
"You just love seeing them excited about something, or when they didn't understand something and that understanding becomes clear”, said Dover. “You can see it on their face and they are so excited, when they just have that pure joy, that's what you are in it for”, said Dover.
Holland and Dover both credit the staff and administration at school for their success in the classroom, and would share the award with them, if they win.
"Just to remember I didn't get there by myself and it's not about me”, said Holland. “It's about educators and it's about education in Oklahoma and just to remember everyone who has helped me along the way”, said Holland.
"I know all the other candidates are so wonderful”, said Dover. “It would be a really great honor to show my support for Oklahoma teachers, it would be wonderful”, Dover said.
Holland and Dover also hope they can inspire others to get into teaching, especially with such a shortage in Oklahoma.
"There are a lot of things that you have to fight against as a teacher”, said Dover. “Especially right now in Oklahoma with funding, there is a lot of pressure on you”, said Dover. “Just make sure you have a passion for it”, said Dover.
"Not everything is going to be easy, It’s not easy in any job”, said Holland. “You have to continue to press on and to be there for those students”, said Holland. “That's what's going to keep them motivated by hanging out with people who truly love what they do, get a great mentor who can help you”, said Holland.
Each finalist received prize money for one-thousand dollars sponsored by the Masonic Charity Foundation. If awarded Teacher of Year you will travel in style and attend different events across Oklahoma in a new car. The teacher of the year will also award one high school senior in their district with a 5-thousand-dollar scholarship from The Edward C. Joullian foundation.
The date for this year's ceremony will be Tuesday August, 30 in the Centennial Building at the Oklahoma State Fair Park.