It was a different event from years' past, but Moore High School was still able to hold their annual Excellence In Education ceremony on Tuesday evening.
The ceremony was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the district invited parents, students and staff to tune into the live ceremony on YouTube at 7 p.m. Despite the new virtual environment, the ceremony looked to honor the district with several awards: District Teacher of the Year, Patrons of the Year and Education Support Professional of the Year.
The hour-long virtual ceremony utilized pre-recorded remarks from several MPS officials, including superintendent Robert Romines and MPS foundation executive director Clayton Ramick. For the ESP and Teacher of the Year awards, the virtual ceremony introduced the finalists before playing brief videos that showed each finalist discussing their favorite aspects of their jobs.
Romines said despite the unusual circumstances, it was important for the district to have the ceremony this year.
“This is (temporarily) the new normal, but we wanted to be able to honor our teachers, patrons and our best support personnel,” Romines said. “Our team has really worked and stepped up to give us the opportunity to finish the year strong.”
The five finalists for the Teacher of the Year award were selected in December by the teachers members of the MPS Professional Development Committee. The teacher finalists for the award were Michelle Grogan. Jennifer Hilger, Brenda Palmer, Ray Robinson and Jamie Zucksworth-Carroll.
Ken Jenkins was selected as the ESP of the Year, and Robinson was named as the MPS Teacher of the Year.
After the ceremony, Robinson said it's an honor to be selected as the finalist among his peers.
“When they told me I was a finalist, I imagined myself being at the ceremony in the spring and being with the other finalists and being dressed nice,” Robinson laughed. “But I got to watch the ceremony with my wife and daughter, and all of my friends and coworkers are texting me congratulations. It's so surreal and such an honor.
“Moore Public Schools has the best teachers in the state and maybe in the whole country. We're a very tight knit group. To be selected from all these teachers is truly an honor to me.”
Robinson began his career at MPS working as the cafeteria manager at Winding Creek Elementary 16 years ago, and now works as the Title I literacy coach at Highland West Jr. High.
“He really started at a grass roots level,” Romines said. “He was a support person at the beginning of his career and he's really worked his way up. He loves his students and we see that every day.”
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