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20 Under 2 celebrates twenty high-performing Oklahoma teachers in their first or second year in the classroom. 

The twenty honorees were selected for outstanding classroom culture, academic results, and contributions to Oklahoma’s public schools. After selection by principals, veteran teachers, and district leaders across the state, each nomination was reviewed and scored by a panel of education professionals. 

Grab the official press release here, the 20 Under 2 group photo, or contact us for individual honoree photos.

Jeremy Britt
Tulsa Public Schools
McClure Elementary
Jeremy Britt is a first-grade teacher at McClure Elementary (Tulsa Public Schools). He originally came to teaching through his work with Reading Partners, a non-profit that matches community volunteers with struggling readers. “As I spent time working with students to reach their grade-level reading goals, I realized how much I loved being in the classroom and helping my students reach their potential,” said Britt. “As I complete my second year teaching at McClure, I have never been more excited about what the future holds for both my students and myself. I know I am in the right profession, and hope to continue to grow as an educator and mentor for the students I have the opportunity to work with.” McClure principal Katy Jimenez praises Mr. Britt’s classroom contributions. “Jeremy has created a classroom environment of care and high expectations for his students. His consistency both instructionally and with classroom culture has made an incredible difference for students!” Mr. Britt is an emergency-certified teacher in his second year in the classroom. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University.
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Katie Burgess
McAlester Public Schools
McAlester High School
“It is a rare thing to see a brand new teacher embracing their power with such eagerness, confidence and maturity,” said Principal Stephanie Holt. “Katie Burgess has a heart for young people and a desire to inspire and challenge them to be mindful, smart, capable, and responsible for the talents and potential inside them all. She uses innovative practices in her classroom and builds strong relationships with students that empower and elevate them to know more, be more, do more. Burgess’s students say that her biggest strength is being relatable; she consistently communicates well and works to establish relationships with students. Burgess is deeply grateful to her supportive colleagues and administration for guiding her through her first year in the classroom. She is a graduate of University of Arkansas – Fort Smith.
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Christina Cook
Santa Fe South
Pathways Middle College
Christina Cook teaches algebra and geometry at Pathways Middle College (Santa Fe South Schools). “I love getting to work with our students at Pathways. Many of them are 1st generation college students and some are even 1st generation high school students,” Cook said. “They are driven to succeed and change their lives for the better.” “Ms. Cook is setting the standard for how mathematics should be taught to the students today,” said principal Christopher McAdoo. “She is amazing!” “Ms. Cook is setting the standard for how mathematics should be taught to the students today,” said principal Christopher McAdoo. “She is amazing!”
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Brooke Copeland
Fort Gibson Public Schools
Fort Gibson Intermediate Elementary
Brooke Copeland teaches 4th grade at Fort Gibson Intermediate Elementary (Fort Gibson Public Schools). Growing up with a mom and dad as educators, she was inspired to teach as well. “I love that teaching gives me the opportunity to make a positive impact on the generations to come,” Copeland said. “My life has been influenced by countless teachers, so to be one of those influences for students is a rewarding experience!” Copeland helps students create their own academic goals and then checks in on them regularly. “Whether the goal is mastering their math facts or reaching 100 points in Accelerated Reader, I enjoy meeting with them periodically to track their progress and give them positive feedback,” she said. “My wish for my students is that they will always know I am rooting for them to succeed. I hope they know that no matter what, they can reach their goals.” In addition to leading students to significant academic gains, Copeland also completed 12 hours of college courses and gave birth to a son this year. This is her second year in the classroom.
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Kat Evans
Deer Creek Public Schools
Grove Valley Elementary
Katharin (Kat) Evans teaches 4th grade at Grove Valley Elementary (Deer Creek Public Schools). She is known for creating strong classroom culture and for transforming her classroom to align with class projects or learning themes. In addition to academic goals, Evans is focused on building strong social and emotional skills. “I wish for my students to have a kind and giving heart. I wish that they won’t see their mistakes as failures but an empowering opportunity to learn from the experience. I wish they understood how deeply their teachers care about them and want them to be successful,” Kat said. “I also wish they could figure out where all the pencils go!” Grove Valley principal Deborah West also raved about Evans. “Ms. Evans is truly loved by everyone at Grove Valley Elementary. Not only is she phenomenal in the classroom with her students but she is a leader throughout our school and district. We are very proud of her for receiving this honor and are so blessed that she is ours!” Evans, an Oklahoma City University education major, just completed her second year in the classroom.
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Hannah Folks
Stilwell Public Schools
Stilwell High School
Hannah Folks teaches Physical Science, Chemistry, Biology and Anatomy at Stilwell High School (Stilwell Public Schools). She is known for her contagious energy and passion for science. Folks has big goals for her students. ““I want students to take pride and ownership in learning the ‘hard stuff’ and enjoying the ‘ah-ha’ moments,” she said. “I want all students to be confident going into the next stage of their lives whether that’s college or career. The goal is to never stop learning, no matter how old they get or how many years they’ve been out of school.” Stilwell High School principal Matthew Brunch speaks highly of Folks: “Mrs. Folk’s energy is contagious, she goes above and beyond for her students and she is a tremendous asset to our school and district.” Folks majored in science at Southeastern Louisiana University.
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Kyle Foster
Jenks Public Schools
Jenks High School
Kyle Foster is a first-year English teacher at Jenks High School (Jenks Public Schools). He prioritizes seeing his students as individuals. “Every single day, students surprise me with their ability to process their surroundings and the world in general, “ Foster said. “At the heart of each person that I teach, there’s a student that wants to understand themselves, their peers in the world in which we live, and ultimately, the world at large.” “Everyday, I greet each student at the door and welcome them into our classroom,” he continued. “I love each one of them, and I do my best to make sure they know that every single day.”‘ Foster is a graduate of Northeastern State University.
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Rachel Henderson
Kiefer Public Schools
Kiefer Upper Elementary
Rachel Henderson teaches English and math teacher at Kiefer Upper Elementary and High School (Kiefer Public Schools). “I decided to teach because I wanted to ‘pay it forward,’” Henderson said. “I would not be who I am without the adults in my life who saw my potential. I am so grateful that I had a teacher in my life who refused to give up on me and saw my potential when others didn’t.” Kiefer High School Principal Cory Campbell enthusiastically supported Henderson’s nomination. “Mrs. Henderson is on the cutting edge of public education. Her undeniably strong subject knowledge, exemplary classroom management techniques, and her genuine love for kids is the perfect formula to set her apart.” Henderson is a graduate of Oklahoma State University. This is her first year in the classroom.
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Kelsey Hicks
Broken Arrow Public Schools
Timber Ridge Elementary
Kelsey Hicks is a second-year teacher at Timber Ridge Elementary (Broken Arrow Public Schools). In addition to leading students to impressive academic gains, she also leads a Kindness Club focused on improving kindness around the school. “I became a teacher largely because of my second and fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Baek,” says Hicks. “In her classroom, I was valued, respected, and I knew I was cared for. I want to be a Mrs. Baek for all of my students. Each student brings so much life into our classroom and I hope they walk away feeling loved, just as I did in Mrs. Baek’s class.” Ms. Hicks’ favorite part of the day is the moment of affirmation as the bell rings. “When they leave the classroom, every child receives a hug, handshake, or high-five,” she explained. “Whether they had a good day or a bad day, that last minute connection with them hopefully makes them look forward to the next day at school.” “From the very first day of school, Ms. Hicks stood out as an exceptional first-year teacher.,” said Timber Ridge Elementary Principal Tiffany Green. “She seemed to have an instinctual ability to set classroom expectations while creating strong rapport with her students to establish a safe learning environment. She is most deserving of this award!” Hicks is a graduate of Evangel University.
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Ben Imlay
Tulsa Public Schools
Collegiate Hall
Ben Imlay is a second-year social studies teacher at Collegiate Hall Charter School. Imlay is quick to point out that his students’ impressive academic growth is a team effort. “I am proud of the work that our entire teaching staff has accomplished, as none of the success of my students can be attributed to me alone.” “My wish for my students is to passionately share their own stories, and to empathize deeply with the stories of others,” Imlay explained. “My hope is that my students will take immense pride in their own identities and culture, and to never allow systems of oppression to strip them from their passions in life.” “I strongly believe that an exceptional education is not a luxury, but rather an attainable aspiration waiting to be actualized by staunch leaders in the classroom – this is what I hope to become for all of my students,” Imlay said. “I have chosen to teach to help provide the the type of high quality education that all young people deserve and have the right to.” “Benjamin Imlay gives his full self to students, families, and the community,” said Collegiate Hall Principal Nathalia Takabatake. “He is a highly skilled, highly professional, and highly inspirational educator. It has been a true honor to be on a team with Ben and watch him develop into an incredible teacher.”
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BJ Jiles
Edmond Public Schools
Central Middle School
Byron “BJ” Jiles is a second-year SPED teacher at Central Middle School (Edmond Public Schools). He also coaches basketball, football, softball, and track. “Mr. Jiles is the embodiment of all we hope our teachers will be for their students,” says Central Middle School Principal Laura McGee. “He is a champion. He develops strong relationships with his special education students while holding each of them to high standards.” “I’m glad I became a teacher because I love helping kids grow academically and personally,” said Jiles. “I love helping the toughest students garner success. Seeing kids grow mentally, emotionally and physically is an incredible experience.” Jiles is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma and Hesston College.
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Lindsay Judd
Mid-Del Public Schools
Pleasant Hill Elementary
Lindsay Judd teaches 2nd grade at Pleasant Hill Elementary (Mid-Del Public Schools). She is known for dressing up as characters and transforming even the most mundane tasks into an exciting adventure. “I wish for students to enjoy the magic of childhood,” said Judd. “I want to work in an environment where tiny triumphs are celebrated and silliness is encouraged.” “While Mrs. Judd is only in her 2nd year, she has been able to take on more responsibilities and leadership roles,” said Principal Tammy Roberson. “She helps to build an encouraging atmosphere with her students and families, as well as our staff.” Judd is a graduate of Southern Nazarene University.
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Kimberly Morgan
Pryor Public Schools
Lincoln Elementary
Kimberly Morgan is a 3rd grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary (Pryor Public Schools). In addition to strong academic and personal student growth, she’s known for creatively transforming her classroom to fit the latest lesson. “My biggest wish is that students find their love of learning,” Morgan explained. “Learning is an adventure! I transformed my classroom into a Fortnite theme and we learned area and perimeter based on the Fortnite map,” Morgan explained. Other classroom transformations include themes like glow-in-dark carnival, and the 12 days of Christmas. “Mrs. Morgan’s enthusiasm, knowledge, and engagement is contagious among the learners she attends to,” said Principal Kirk Emerine. “She engages many hard to reach learners and has successfully brought up the academic abilities of all the learners.” Morgan is a graduate of Cameron University and Northeastern State University.
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Sarah Muzny
Muskogee Public Schools
Muskogee High School
Sarah Muzny is a history teacher at Muskogee High School (Muskogee Public Schools). “From day one, Ms. Muzny stepped into the classroom with an enthusiasm for the curriculum and the students,” said Principal Kimberly Fleak. “She is a young vibrant teacher and coach. She has high expectations of self and of her students.” Muzny’s colleagues noted that she balances holding students to high expectations with caring about student relationships. “I am always chasing down students for work, sending out reminders, and having them come in for tutoring at lunch,” said Muzny. “I expect a lot out of my students but I also care a lot about them. It’s because I care so much that I expect a lot. I truly believe that students rise to expectations.” Muzny is a 2018 graduate of Oklahoma State University.
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Sara Mote
Springer Public Schools
Springer Elementary
Sara Mote is a 5th grade teacher at Springer Elementary (Springer Public Schools). “My biggest strength in the classroom is building relationships with my students,.” said Mote. “I feel that it is important to understand and be invested in the student for who they are.” “Mrs. Mote goes above and beyond to inspire her students,” said Principal Jason Wright. “Her passion to see students succeed is second to none.” Mote is a graduate of East Central University.
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Audra Peterson
Anadarko Public Schools
Mission Elementary School
Audra Peterson is 4th grade science and social studies teacher at Mission Elementary (Anadarko Public Schools). “I always knew that I wanted to make a difference to this world and leave a mark on society,” said Peterson. “As I got older and started to figure out my path, I decided that making a difference with young children would be a fantastic way to leave that mark.” Principal Jeff Barrett speaks highly of Peterson. “Ms. Peterson displays the skills and temperament of a career teacher.”
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Olivia Wehmuller
Jennings Public Schools
Jennings Elementary
Olivia Wehmuller is a 2nd grade teacher at Jennings Elementary (Jennings Public Schools). Olivia says, “Having to teach, coach, engage, excite, console, and inspire children every single day is the most challenging and most rewarding thing I have ever decided to do. I love when a light bulb goes off with the student who struggled and fought or when they can’t contain their excitement for new learning.” “Olivia’s bubbly personality and ability to get the most out of every student make her stand out!” said Principal Jay Reeves.
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Jennifer Winchester
Bridge Creek Public Schools
Bridge Creek Middle School
Jennifer Winchester is a 7th grade geography teacher at Bridge Creek Middle School (Bridge Creek Public Schools). “I love that in only two years I have encountered over 300 students that have made a difference in my life,” Winchester said. “I can only hope and pray that I have made a difference for at least one of those kids.” “Ms. Winchester is an outside the box thinker,” said Principal Thad McCormick. “She spends immense amounts of time planning projects that will enhance the students experience in her classroom.”
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Garrett Weir
Glenpool Public Schools
Glenpool High School
Garrett Weir teaches physical science, biology, and anatomy & physiology at Glenpool High School (Glenpool Public Schools). He is also the head boys and girls cross country coach and the assistant track coach. Although Weir did not intend to major in education when he went to college, he ultimately changed his major to education when he thought about the influence of his own coaches and teachers. “I had teachers who invested themselves in my life and helped me to succeed,” Weir said. “So when I searched my heart about what I truly wanted to do with my life, investing in others as I had been invested in seemed like the right thing to do.” “Coach Weir builds strong relationships with students, he is positive and supports students while maintaining a high level of rigor,” said Principal Kim Coody. Weir is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University.
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Austin Wood
Paoli Public Schools
Paoli Elementary School
Austin Wood teaches math at Paoli Public Schools. He is also the 2019 Paoli High School Teacher of the Year. “Mr. Wood is an excellent teacher,” said Byron Mooney. “He is light years ahead of most novice teachers in academics, classroom management, and accountability as evidenced by his selection as our High School Teacher of the Year.” Wood has worked hard to improve student math achievement this year. “Some of the students were so unsure of themselves that they were afraid to even try,” Wood remembers. “Now I can see a lot more confidence in their work. As I walk around the classroom checking to see how they are progressing through assignments I can see how much better they have become at tackling problems.” Wood is a graduate of East Central University.
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