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Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Alumna Shanna Peeples worked as a disc jockey, medical assistant, pet sitter, and journalist before finding her true calling as a teacher.
Now she’s representing the nation’s 3 million educators as the 2015 National Teacher of the Year, America’s oldest and most prestigious honor of its kind, bestowed by the Council of Chief State School Officers. Gov. Greg Abbott honored Peeples Oct. 2 at the Texas Governor's Mansion in Austin.
Peeples teaches English at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo, where 85 percent of the school’s students live below the poverty line. Many are refugees who speak English as a second language and recently entered the United States from war-torn regions.
“My students, survivors of deep and debilitating trauma, have shaped the kind of teacher I am,” she says. “They have taught me never to make a promise I can’t keep because so many already have learned to see the world through suspicious eyes.
“To be the best teacher to them, I have to remember this and honor their background. I remember so I can gain their trust because I want them to read and write their way out of where they are.”