McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

February 14, 2014

MPS names Teacher of the Year finalists

By MJ Brickey

McALESTER — The McAlester Public Schools Teacher of the Year candidates were announced at the regular monthly board of education meeting Monday night.

MPS Curriculum Coordinator Stephanie Holt said the candidates are April Burns, Gene Dalmont and Caroline Miller, from McAlester High School, and Margie McElhaney, from Puterbaugh Middle School. The winner will be announced after a bond initiative presentation by Dr. Marsha Gore that starts at 8:15 a.m. today at S. Arch Thompson Auditorium.

Holt said she has worked closely with all four of the candidates and they are some of the finest teachers in the MPS district. "We could not make a bad decision by choosing any one of these four people,” Holt said. "They are truly representative of what our profession is all about.

“They are in it because they care about kids and love this community and they love our school — they are all outstanding people. I am proud to call them all colleagues and friends.” Holt asked the candidates to give a brief introduction to those attending the school board meeting — approximately 30.

Burns said she teaches algebra at the high school and is also the girls basketball coach. She said she has worked for MPS for five of the 10 years she has lived in McAlester. Miller teaches world history and AVID at the high school, “and this is my ninth year of teaching — eight years here in McAlester,” she said. “I graduated from Oklahoma State University. I am proud to wear my orange. “And I just recently graduated with my master’s from East Central University.”

McElhaney teaches special education and language arts at Puterbaugh Middle School. “I also co-teach geography and history,” McElhaney said. “I started in education 19 years ago.” She went onto say she has been with MPS for two years and spent the rest of her years in education at Indianola Schools. “I got my start with Ronnie Martin (deputy superintendent) as my first principal at Indianola (school),” McElhaney said. “It has been a pleasure to be reunited with he, and his wife.” She ended with saying, “I love, love, love working in this district. I look forward to getting up every single day and coming to work.”

“Obviously we didn’t go age before beauty,” Dalmont said while smiling, with many in the crowd laughing. “I’m Gene Dalmont and I am the agricultural education teacher.” He said he graduated from Indianola High School, went to Eastern Oklahoma State College and then Oklahoma State University. “I’m working on my 32nd year” with MPS, he said, adding that his wife is also an educator. He said his son is in pharmacy school at Southwestern