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UTA education alumna Shanna Peeples named 2015 Texan of the Year finalist

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 • Media Contact: Kristin Sullivan

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Shanna Peeples, a University of Texas at Arlington alumna and Amarillo high school English teacher has been named a finalist for The Dallas Morning News 2015 Texan of the Year honor.

Shanna Peeples, UTA education alumna and finalist for 2015 Texan of the Year

Shanna Peeples, a 2013 College of Education alumna, is a finalist for the 2015 Dallas Morning News' Texan of the Year honor.

Peeples earned her Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction from UTA through the University’s online Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction program in 2013.  She gained national recognition in April when the Council of Chief State School Officers named her its 2015 National Teacher of the Year, leading to acclaim from Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott and a visit to the White House and President Barack Obama.

The Dallas Morning News celebrates Texans who have had “an uncommon impact” in their fields. “As the nation’s education ambassador, she has logged more than 95,000 miles and touched foot in almost every state,” the News said. “She is the first Teacher of the Year to visit Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories.”

“Shanna truly embodies a calling to teaching and excellence in the classroom,” said Jeanne Gerlach, dean of the UTA College of Education. “She continues to garner accolades for her work because she represents the best in our profession. UTA is fortunate to have an ambassador like Shanna Peeples, as is the entire education community.”

Former state Rep. Diane Patrick, who is now a clinical assistant professor in the UTA College of Education, said, “This is a well deserved award truly honoring someone we hold in the highest esteem and a reflection on the quality of educators that UTA graduates. Teachers are the backbone of what education and society are responsible for doing – making each generation better.”

UTA’s College of Education is one of the state’s leading producers of highly educated teachers in North Texas. By supplying human capital in the form of superintendents, principals, administrators and teachers to the region’s many school districts, UTA is positively influencing K-12 students’ learning and preparation for college, and plans even stronger partnerships with and support for that educational pipeline in 2016 and beyond.

UTA’s Pathways to College Access and Career Readiness Program through its “Go Centers” and founder Carla Amaro-Jimenez were recognized this year as a finalist for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Star Award. The award recognizes outstanding programs that increase student access to higher education, participation, retention and graduation in helping to meet the state’s Closing the Gaps by 2015 goals.

Peeples is the first Texas teacher to win the National Teacher of the Year award since 1957. She was selected among hundreds of thousands nominated for the honor. Of her experience this year, she said, “I want to create things that last after me. This can’t just be a great one-year experience for Shanna Peeples.”

About the UT Arlington College of Education

The UTA College of Education is fully accredited through the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and in 2006 became the first College of Education within the UT System to receive accreditation through the prestigious National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. The college currently offers bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees through Departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Visit to learn more.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 51,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UTA as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2016 Best for Vets list. to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at