Anderson, Vasquez Named 2023 MPS Teacher of the Year
MUSKOGEE, Okla. - A first in district history, two educators have been named the 2023 District Teacher of the Year. The decision results from an unbreakable tie following three rounds of evaluations where both Lakeya Anderson and Jeanette Vasquez demonstrated high levels of professionalism and a support of the district’s vision and goals. Both were announced Thursday evening at the annual Superintendent’s Honors Award Banquet at the new Rougher Village Arena.
“Typically each year there is a straightforward winner,” said MPS Superintendent Dr. Jarod Mendenhall. “This year the committee asked me to provide a final evaluation to break an unprecedented tie. When I reviewed both teachers, the answer was clear. Both are rightfully deserving and both display an affection for our students and pride in our district. Therefore we did something that we’ve never done. We awarded two district teachers of the year.”
Anderson and Vasquez are both graduates of Muskogee Public Schools who have returned to teach in the district that shaped them into the individuals they are today.
“My own life-changing experiences with educators inspired me to become a teacher. In my time of need, these educators were an invaluable source of support for me. I cannot adequately express my gratitude for them. Their support and encouragement helped me succeed and encouraged me to achieve my goals. Their guidance has been a driving force in my life, and I am forever grateful for their influence. As a teacher, I hope to be able to provide the same level of care and support to all of my students,” said Anderson.
“I chose Muskogee and I chose Irving for a purpose to serve and give back to the community that uplifted me as a scholar and as an individual. My love for teaching stems from the countless educators who put their all into their craft. Teaching is unlike any career just by the promise we hold for our students. To be there for them not just as their teacher but in all aspects, not just as a philosophy but as a commitment,” said Vasquez.
Anderson is a fourth grade teacher at Sadler Arts Academy. She holds a master’s degree of education leadership with a concentration in instructional leadership from Northeastern State University, a bachelor’s of arts in science from Liberty University, and associate’s of arts from Connors State College. She has been a teacher with Muskogee Public Schools since 2018.
Vasquez is a third grade teacher at Irving Elementary having previously taught fourth grade along with both the second and fourth grades during summer school. She holds a bachelor’s of science degree in elementary education from Northeastern State University and is bilingual with fluency in both English and Spanish. She has been a teacher with Muskogee Public Schools since 2021.
Each year teachers are nominated and selected as Site Educators of the Year by their peers to represent their school. Site Educators of the Year then advance to the District Teacher of the Year evaluation process. The District Teacher of Year evaluation committee reviews nominations, evaluates classroom teaching, and conducts interviews with each candidate before offering a final suggestion to district superintendents. The committee is comprised of teachers, support staff, and administrators.