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Madison Wingate received the Teacher of the Year award Tuesday at the 2017 Stars of Education Award celebration.

She is a Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Pierce Elementary School, 2701 S. Tulsa Ave., Oklahoma City.

She was chosen from among nine finalists who submitted extensive portfolios, turned in classroom videos of their teaching, and went through several interviews by the selection committee.

Wingate talked to Free Press at the end of the ceremony and said she was “very surprised” to get the award.

We asked what was the hardest thing about being a pre-k teacher.

“It’s the negativity that surrounds education and the lack of funding,” said Wingate. “It’s just dealing with all of that outside negativity and not letting it get into the classroom.”

But her expression changed dramatically when asked what were the best things about teaching.

“It’s seeing their smile every day. Their joy every day. Their excitement and learning new things.”

She said that she expects to keep teaching “until I can’t teach anymore.”

Wingate now moves on to the competition for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. The results will be announced at a ceremony in the Fall.


Shannon Larsen was named first runner-up.

Larsen teaches K-fifth grade special education at Wilson Arts Integration Elementary, 501 NW 21st St, Oklahoma City.

Second runner-up was Amanda Trimble, who teaches fifth grade at Southern Hills Elementary School, 7800 S Kentucky Ave., Oklahoma City.

Best teachers

Mary Mélon is the president/CEO of the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, the organizer of the event.

She and Superintendent Aurora Lora talked with Free Press.

“It’s important to recognize teachers for what they do every day,” said Mélon. “It is critically important that we have the best teachers in each classroom and the best principals in every building, to make sure that our kids have every opportunity possible to succeed.”

Lora said that the Teacher of the Year event “is one of my favorite events of the school year.”

“These are people who have devoted their lives to wanting to impact the next generation of children. It’s just so special and fun to be here to properly thank them for their commitment to this work,” Lora said.

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