Valerie Bradshaw, of Shawnee High School, was named teacher of the year Monday night during the Shawnee Public Schools 37th annual Teacher of the Year banquet, held at the Oklahoma Baptist University’s Geiger Center.


Valerie Bradshaw, of Shawnee High School, was named teacher of the year Monday night during the Shawnee Public Schools 37th annual Teacher of the Year banquet, held at the Oklahoma Baptist University’s Geiger Center.
Bradshaw was born in Shawnee, graduated from Moore High School, and later graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is currently working on a post graduate degree from the University of Oklahoma. Bradshaw quoted Mahatma Gandhi in her acceptance speech.
“Be the change you want to be. I ask my students what change do we want to see in this world? That is the motto I try to teach by,” Bradshaw said. “We want our kids to behave in the class, to set goals to begin the things they want to change. And to just be positive influences to society.”
One of Bradshaw’s students was quoted by fellow teacher Sherri Thompson during the introductions. Thompson said “She has been a hero to me by helping me with college stuff that I don’t get. For others I see her helping all the time by listening to students’ problems. She tries to help as much as she can.”
The theme of the night was “Superheroes, I’m a teacher... What’s your superpower”.
Marilyn Bradford, superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools, spoke with emotions about what she said were some of the challenges faced by educators today.
“I am tired of the anger directed at the democratic system I have dedicated my life too. Vouchers and public schools will not replace the amount of poverty and problems at home,” Bradford said. “Teachers I had in school were like parents, they treated me with respect. The ones who have schooled you in morals and values aren’t easily replaced. Teachers are superheroes for children that desperately need heros.”
Faculty at Jefferson Elementary were responsible for the decorations. Superhero action figures and decorations along with a few teachers dressed as superheroes carried the theme through the banquet.
“Every year we rotate who organizes the banquet, and the school that organizes it gets to pick the theme. We chose the superhero theme because we got power school,” Vicky Penson, from Jefferson said. “This is a time for their colleagues to recognize and vote on the superior teachers in the district.”
The other nominees for Teacher of the Year were: Beverly Permetter, from Shawnee Early Childhood Center, Tina Stroup, Horrace Mann Elementary, Lesli Cappo, Jefferson, Cathie Womack, Sequoyah Elementary, Emily Stinnett, from Will Rogers Elementary, Tony Humphrey, Shawnee Middle School, Larry James, Shawnee Middle School, Roger McCoin, Shawnee Middle School, Greg Mayberry, Shawnee High School, Gaye Shepard, Shawnee High School, and Royanna LaHue, from Jim Thorpe Academy.
“This really means a lot, everyone in this building works so hard,” LaHue said. “It makes me feel honored to be recognized for our building.”
“It’s this moment of every year that is set aside to honor our colleagues and our profession,” Sabra Tucker, elementary curriculum coordinator for Shawnee Public Schools, said. “It reminds all of us why we do what we do.”

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Robby Short may be contacted by calling 214-3934