WTAMU alum accepts Teacher of the Year honor


Jasmin Ruiz, Reporter

In January, Shanna Peeples, teacher at Palo Duro High School, was awarded Texas Teacher of the year for 2015 and was one of the four finalists for Teacher of the Year in the nation. Becoming teacher of the year requires one to inspire all students to learn, have respect for all students, parents and colleagues, and play an active role in the community and the school.

This award is said to be one of the oldest and most prestigious award programs for public teachers. For the first time in district history, former West Texas A&M University alumna and English teacher Shanna Peeples was awarded the National Teacher of the Year award on April 27, 2015.

Peeples graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from WT and has been a teacher for 12 years. Before she was a teacher, she worked many jobs including dog sitting and working in the field of journalism. She currently teaches at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo, where most of her students come from traumatic backgrounds and are refugees

“My students, survivors of deep and debilitating trauma, have shaped the kind of teacher I am,” Peeples said. “They have taught me to never make promises I can’t keep because so many already have learned to see the world through suspicious eyes. Palo Duro High School is a Title I school, which means that the majority of the students who attend this school live in poverty, but aside from that, it was never an excuse to give students a poor education.“

“I will always be proud to be from Palo Duro,” Tania Fuentes, junior Criminal Justice major, said. “Everyone in that school has a different story and we are all from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Fuentes was one of Shanna Peeples’ students and said she was very happy when she found out Peeples won the Teacher of the Year honor. Peeples helped her with her essays while in high school, as well as essays that Fuentes needed for college and in her college career.

“All the teachers are great and they want to help us better ourselves,” Fuentes said.

Margo Maldonado, junior Education major, said she was influenced by Peeples and hopes to one day impact students’ lives as much as Peeples impacted hers.

“As a teacher to be, I look up to her,” Maldonado said. “As a teenage mom, I hope to relate to the students I’ll be teaching, and I just pray I can be as helpful and encouraging as Mrs. Peeples. It takes a strong teacher to work in a school like PD.”

Peeples recently accepted her award at the White House and will now travel as a spokesperson for the teaching profession.


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