Madison Wingate, Teacher of the Year for Oklahoma City Public Schools, has been named a Rising Star by the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
The honor is given each year to district teachers of the year who are relatively new to the profession. Only four were chosen from across the state this year.
She is a prekindergarten teacher at Pierce Elementary School, 2701 S. Tulsa Ave., Oklahoma City.
The Rising Stars were announced along with finalists for 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Monday by state Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.
The 12 finalists and the Rising Stars were chosen from among teachers of the year from each district whose application packet was reviewed by a panel that included educators, members of the business community, legislators and nonprofit partners.
Free Press talked by phone with Wingate later in the week about what the additional win means to her.
“I’m still reeling from just being teacher of the year for my district, you know? So, the state recognizing me at all is just really super exciting because I’m still a relatively new teacher,” said Wingate.
She just completed her fourth year of teaching.
“It makes me want to be even more involved in my district,” she said.
She was named TOY at a special event for that purpose held by the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools in May.
Free Press covered the festive event. We asked her after the ceremony what she thought was hard about the teaching profession.
“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 then we asked her what was the most rewarding about being a pre-K teacher with the very youngest children in the elementary school.
“It’s seeing their smile every day, their joy every day, their excitement and learning new things,” Wingate said.
She told us she expects to keep teaching “until I can’t teach anymore.”
The honor titles have been announced. Now, she is doing the hard work of preparing for the next school year.
Yes, OKCPS teachers are already working at home developing lesson plans.
Teacher meetings will start the week of Monday, July 24. The first day of school will be Tuesday, Aug. 1.
What will be the new challenges with her new pre-K students?
“I’ve got a bunch of kids dealing with leaving mom for the first time,” she said. “So, the first week I’ll be dealing with a bunch of kids crying.”
It’s the life of a pre-K teacher, and she loves it.