Sandra Bradley named Shawnee 2021 Teacher of the Year

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
Shawnee 2021 Teacher of the Year Sandra Bradley with her family and friends after winning the title.
Horace Mann Elementary School teacher Sandra Bradley was named the 2021 Shawnee Public School Teacher of the Year.

Horace Mann Elementary School educator Sandra Bradley was named the 2021 Shawnee Public Schools Teacher of the Year Monday at the district's 47th annual celebration.

Bradley, who has been a fourth and fifth grade special education teacher for 25 years, said she is honored to be the recipient of the award and she's grateful to her colleagues and SPS.

"It feels very humbling that they would choose me out of hundreds of our teachers who are just as qualified. It's just an amazing feeling," Bradley said.

The other 2021 Teacher of the Year nominees included Jessica Brown from Shawnee Middle School, Kristi Carter-Heilaman from Sequoyah Elementary School, Lindsay Dennis from Shawnee High School, Hannah Jett from Shawnee Early Childhood Center, Mary McCune from Jefferson Elementary School, Misty Rendleman from Jim Thorpe Academy and Tara Wilson from Will Rogers Elementary School.

This year the event looked different as masked members of the SPS community gathered in the Shawnee High School Performing Arts and Athletic Center to celebrate Bradley and her fellow nominees.

The educator said after the difficult year everyone had due to the pandemic, it was nice to be recognized and celebrate the reason why she and her co-workers teach.

"It's because of our students that we do what we do and so being able to have this honor to me is just a little slice of cake to say thank you," Bradley said. "Even though it's been a challenging year it has also been the most rewarding because we've been connecting on a deeper level than before."

Superintendent Dr. April Grace also spoke about the trials and rewards of this past school year when she addressed SPS educators Monday night.

"We've made it. We've had some trials. We've had some tests. We've had some tragedies and loss along the way and we've had some triumph," Grace said. "We've made it (more than) 100 days of school in less than perfect circumstances but we've done it and we've done it for kids."

Chief Financial Officer Brent Houston, Executive Director of Academics Meggan Wilson, Shawnee Board of Education Member Larry Walker and 2020 Teacher of the Year Linsey Mastin also spoke at the celebration.

Shawnee Early Childhood pre-kindergartner Kennedy Alison lead the crowd in the Flag Salute.

In addition, various businesses in the Shawnee community donated prizes to Bradley and the other nominees.

Going forward, during the remainder of the school year, Bradley said she will continue teaching and connecting with her students.

"(I hope that students) will continue to learn. That they will continue to find their niche so they can be who they need to be for the next grade they're going to," Bradley said.

The educator said she would like to thank the Shawnee community for supporting SPS teachers.

Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.
Various SPS educators gathered 2021 Shawnee Teacher of the Year Celebration.