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The 2012 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, who will speak Monday [NOV. 7] at East Central University, believes her strength is loving to “start the applause” as she inspires her students to love school, strive for personal excellence and leave her classroom prepared for the future. 

Kristin Shelby, a 4th grade teacher at Sallie Gillentine Elementary School in Hollis, will speak at ECU’s Marvin Stokes Endowed Lectureship. She will discuss “The Race: Ours to Win!” at 6:30 p.m. in the Estep Multimedia Center in the Bill Cole University Center.

“Education is at a critical moment in history,” she said. “We, as educators have a choice. We can either be a victim of change or a participant in change. One holds you back – the other moves you forward.

“Every day,” she added, “educators, parents and legislators make choices that influence the lives of young people and our profession. I want to inspire others to embrace changes that are coming our way and not to be "bogged" down by fear of the unknown.”

Shelby’s talk is open to the public. In addition, area Teachers of the Year will be recognized.

The Stokes Lectureship was established to recognize Marvin Stokes' distinguished career in education. Stokes, who died in 2005, was a lifelong educator and long-time superintendent of Byng Schools. He was an ECU Distinguished Alumnus and a member of the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame.

As Oklahoma's "Ambassador of Teaching,” Shelby will speak with teachers and civic groups throughout the state for the next year. She also will share her passion for teaching with ECU education students on Tuesday.

“If you wake up each day and choose your profession to be just a job, then that is all it will ever be,” Shelby said. “If you wake up each day ‘on fire’ for your profession and your students, then it's a passion.

“By the way,” she added, “I wake up each morning to feed and take care of our show pig – then passion for my students!”

The family lives in Hollis. Her husband, Trent, an educator and football/soccer coach for Altus High School, also is a farmer/rancher at McQueen. They have three daughters, twins Kynadi and Crosbi, 13, and Hadli, 10, and a son Brody, 7.

Shelby said the power of motivation comes from building trust.

“You build trust by being compassionate and being competent,” she explained. “Once your students know you truly care, they are motivated and take ownership for their education.”

Shelby, a National Board Certified Teacher, was named Oklahoma Teacher of the Year in September and returned to her 4th grade classroom the next day.”

“As I walked in the door, a group of students said, ‘Mrs. Shelby, Wow! We did it.  We are the best students in Oklahoma.’”

Her 4th grade daughter had a different reaction, however.

“When they announced my name at the State Fair, she said, ‘Who's going to help me get ready for my field trip tomorrow?’ I am playing a role as mom, 4th grade teacher and Oklahoma's Ambassador for education. I am still in the classroom,” Shelby said.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Oklahoma State University, she taught 5th and 6th grade math three years in the Moore School District. At Hollis, she was a reading sufficiency, 3rd grade, Kindergarten and full-day pre-K teacher for 10 years. She taught pre-K at an Altus Air Force Base school for a year, then returned to Hollis where she has been a 4th grade teacher for four years.

Area Teachers of the Year for 2010-11 who will be recognized at the lecture, and their school districts, are Shawna Harrison, Ada; Spencer Cody, Allen; Christina Elliott, Byng; Tiffany Oliphant, Konawa; Tisha Martin, Latta; Marci Bean, Lexington; Cherina Brown, Moss; and Debra Blackwood, Stratford.

Shelby will represent Oklahoma in the National Teacher of the Year competition next spring.

As Oklahoma’s Teacher of the Year, she received more than $50,000 in cash and prizes from numerous contributors, including $5,000 from the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma; the use of a Ford vehicle for a year; products, software and professional development; a laptop computer; a $1,000 cash award, a $2,500 tuition credit and a $500 credit toward a classroom makeover; and numerous scholarships and tuition waivers from many of the state’s universities.

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