2013-14 Teachers of the Game

During every Thunder Home Game of the 2013-14 season, American Fidelity Assurance Company will honor 41 different school districts' Teacher of the Year winners from all over the state of Oklahoma as the Teacher of the Game. Each of the teachers will receive a special in-game recognition, a gift bag from American Fidelity with a gift card for classroom supplies, and VIP seating at the game. During the last game of the season, Thunder fans will be able to join American Fidelity Assurance Company in honoring the 2013 Oklahoma State Teacher of the Year.






Therese Rawlinson - Bartlesville
Thunder vs. Suns
November 3, 2013


  • Barbara Stephens - Deer Creek
    Thunder vs. Mavericks
    November 6, 2013


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? My “first” career was in human resources, and although I enjoyed what I did, I didn’t feel fulfilled by my work. Through lots of prayer, I felt God was pushing me to become an educator, and although I wasn’t excited about returning to school, I went back to get my Master’s Degree. It was one of the best decisions I ever made, as I have found my true passion.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? This is my tenth year to teach. This is my third year to teach at Deer Creek Elementary. I taught kindergarten the first two years, and now I’m teaching first grade.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? I have been influenced by many great educators throughout my career, but I would have to say the most influential was my drama teacher in junior high, Mrs. Beckman. She had so much enthusiasm for her work, and taught me that any good teacher is also a great actor.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant is my favorite Thunder player. He has brought such class and leadership to the game, and isn’t afraid to show his mom how much he loves her. What a great son!
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Find something you love, whether it’s math, sports, art, music, and strive to be the best that you can be!
  • Denver Boren - Bixby
    Thunder vs. Wizards
    November 10, 2013


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I had a great educational experience with incredible teachers who had a profound impact on my life. I wanted to provide students with a positive school experience and have a similar impact on their lives.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have been teaching for about eight-and-a-half years. I am in my eighth year at Bixby Middle School.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? I had two incredibly influential people who served as my unofficial mentors when I began teaching, Jean Bundy and Tracy Jackson. I’m not sure I would’ve made it without their help, patience, and guidance.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? My favorite Thunder player is KD, of course!
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? It sounds cliché, but education is power. If you look at the most successful people in your lives and around the world, most of them were able to achieve their success because of their education.
  • Peter Marks - Edmond
    Thunder vs. Nuggets
    November 18, 2013


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? My parents were both educators, and I was able to have my own father as a teacher for four separate classes. His style of creating learners inspired me to consider nothing else.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? Thirteen years in education, and 12 years in the Edmond Public Schools
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My father, David Markes
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant!
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Education is what you are left with when you forget all that you learned in school. Take it seriously, soak it all up, learn as much as you can and passionately pursue all that fascinates you to the best of your ability. Your education might be the single greatest factor that influences your life.
  • Brenda Mechling - Midwest City-Del City
    Thunder vs. Clippers
    November 21, 2013


  • Tera Landrum - Broken Arrow
    Thunder vs. Jazz
    November 24, 2013


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I chose to become an educator because I enjoy helping others and wanted to make a difference in the lives of young children.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have been teaching for 4 years total, 3 years being spent at my current school.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My mom and also past teachers and coaches were huge inspirations in my decision towards becoming a teacher.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? I hope you can find a way to love learning and desire to be a life long learner!
  • Byron Church - Moore
    Thunder vs. Spurs
    November 27, 2013


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I went through school in Ada and had great band directors. I saw how much they enjoyed being educators and decided that I would enjoy the education field as well.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? This is my eighth year as a teacher. I have been at Highland West Junior High for all eight years.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My high school band director, Bronson Warren. I still run into him several times a year.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant. He seems very genuine and seems to provide level-headed leadership on and off the court.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? No matter the circumstance, take a positive attitude to school with you every day. Your success depends on it!
  • Eddie Lou Strimple - Enid
    Thunder vs. Warriors
    November 29, 2013


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I am an educator because of the creativity I am able to use every day. I’m talking about the creativity involved in designing lessons and developing opportunities for students to become the best they can be.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have been teaching in Enid for 42 years. I have been at McKinley Elementary School for 20 years. Go Cardinals!
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My husband Gary is my strong supporter and sounding board and patiently waits at home many evenings. He says more often that I can count: “I understand. You need to go.” My sister Martha is my professional mentor and counselor. We collaborate over lesson plans and classroom strategies and travel and study together as often as we can. She also teaches elementary music and her school is about a mile from by school.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Derek Fisher!
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Read, read, read! Learn a musical instrument and sing or play in a group. Turn off the TV (unless you are watching the Thunder!) and play a sport or build healthy relationships with your friends. Education will take you far through this life. It IS your road to success.
  • Rhonda Bart - Claremore
    Thunder vs. Timberwolves
    December 1, 2013


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I chose to become an educator because I wanted to be a positive influence in the lives of children like my teachers were for me.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have been an educator for 21 years. Fourteen of those have been in the Claremore School District.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My mother has been the most influential person in my career. She was a teacher for 32 years and inspired me to follow in her footsteps.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant is my favorite Thunder player.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from – your future is up to you. An education can help make that future even brighter.
  • Curtis Moses - Jones
    Thunder vs. Pacers
    December 8, 2013


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I wanted to make a difference in the lives of students.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have been in education 14 years. The last six years have been at Jones high School.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? The two most influential people in my career were my coaches and my school counselor.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Education is the one item that can truly chance your future!
  • Frank Cooper - Sand Springs
    Thunder vs. Lakers
    December 13, 2013


    Kevin Pearson - Tulsa
    Thunder vs. Magic
    December 15, 2013


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? Educators changed my life by fostering my drive to succeed and by providing me with the advantages only education can provide. It is my desire to pass on that those opportunities.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school?I have been teaching for 6 years, all of which have been at East Central Junior High in Tulsa.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? While I cannot name a specific person who has most impacted me, I can say that I would not be who I am and doing what I am doing without my wonderfully supportive, collaborative, and energetic colleagues.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Serge Ibaka
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Just like anything worthwhile in life, education takes practice and hard work. It is easy to just sit back and do the bare minimum; however, excellence comes from going the extra mile.
  • Carrie Reese- Union
    Thunder vs. Bulls
    December 19, 2013


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I chose to become an educator because I wanted to make a positive impact on people’s lives and be a role model for young people. Growing up, I had the privilege of participating in mission trips with my church youth group where I taught Vacation Bible School to inner-city children. These experiences helped shape my desire to teach and gave me a passion for working with young people.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have been teaching for seven years. Six of those years were spent teaching 4th and 5th grade at Union. This is my first year of teaching 6th Grade Language Arts at the 6th/7th Center at Union.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? The most influential person in my career thus far is one of my colleagues and dear friends, Kristyne Salley. Kristyne showed me what it’s like to work hard and to teach wholeheartedly. Her enthusiasm and commitment to teaching is a daily inspiration.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? I love all the Thunder players, but if I had to choose just one, it would be Kevin Durant.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? The advice I would give to young Thunder Fans is to find something you are passionate about and pursue it with hard work and with all your heart. Commit to becoming a lifelong learner, always pursuing more knowledge. Remember, education can change your life!
  • Chelsea Roberts - Woodward
    Thunder vs. Raptors
    December 22, 2013


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I chose to become an educator because I wanted to share my passion for education with my students. But more importantly, I wanted to share the importance of being an educated citizen with an understanding of American civics and history.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I am currently in my 3rd year at Woodward Middle School teaching American History.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? The most influential person in my career was my professor from OU, Dr. Margaret Ellis. I will forever be grateful to her for helping me realize my potential as an educator.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Nick Collison!
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? I would tell young Thunder Fans exactly what I tell my students: Knowledge is power!! Never take your education for granted – it is one of the few things that can never be taken away from you.
  • Jo Anna Dossett - Owasso
    Thunder vs. Rockets
    December 29, 2013


  • <Why did you choose to become an educator? Even though both my parents were educators, I didn’t aspire to be one until I had already graduated from college. After college, I joined the United States Peace Corps, and my assignment was Teaching English as a Foreign Language. After that experience, I knew I wanted to come home and teach English as a Second Language.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? This is my 11th year as an educator. My position teaching English as a Second Language has required me to change schools within my district several times, but I am happily teaching for the 9th year in my district.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My mother. She was a special education teacher for 30 years at a school where I currently teach. Her actions taught me that everyone who walks into a school building, regardless of his or her background or current situation, has dignity. Recognizing that dignity is a teacher’s first and most important task.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant. He doesn’t have to be, but what a positive guy he is for all of our little ones watching him. I’ve seen many a student at school completely nuts about him! I’m a new mom now, and I have enjoyed watching KD’s mom cheering him on. She seems like a great mom and he a good son.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? You should never, ever stop learning! Whenever your formal education ends, you should continue to educate yourself by visiting your public library, using online resources, and taking advantage of community education programs in your area. There’s no limit on what you can learn and how that learning can positively affect your life.
  • Dana Moore - Lawton
    Thunder vs. Trail Blazers
    December 31, 2013


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? Teaching is a calling and I know that God’s hands have always been on my heart to become an educator. Teachers are servant leaders because they have a tremendous capacity to willingly sacrifice so much of their own time and heart to lead children to success. The money made being an educator is not as great a reward as the impact that is made on children’s lives. I know that what I am doing each day will make a great difference for the future. It is an amazing gift when a passion and a career come together and I get to experience that gift every day!
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have been teaching Kindergarten at Woodland Hills Elementary in Lawton for 20 years. I have been blessed to be at the same school and grade for my entire career. I also teach early childhood classes at Western Oklahoma State College in Altus. I have been an adjunct faculty member there since 2008.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? This is a difficult question for me! The saying that it “takes a village to raise a child” holds true for raising a teacher! I have had so many amazing mentors in my career. I must give credit to my father, Darryl Milburn for always encouraging to go above and beyond in what ever I do. He taught me that I should treat everyone with respect in order to gain respect and to always be professional. Dr. Margie McMahon at Cameron University taught me multitudes about early childhood education so many years ago. Dr. James Hawkins, most recently, has taught me to always believe in myself and to stay true to what I believe as an educator.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? I, of course like so many others, love Kevin Durant. I love his personality and that he carries himself so professionally. I also love Derek Fisher! His maturity brings a special gift to the Thunder team. I enjoy watching all of the Thunder play!
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Hard work pays off! Set goals and do not be afraid to make mistakes along the way to reaching those goals. There is a quote by Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh that I live by and encourage all students out there to remember about themselves – “Remember that you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think”. This quote will get them through tough times in school and life! Always be true to yourself!
  • Kimberly Barrett - Guthrie
    Thunder vs. Nets
    January 2, 2013


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I chose to become an educator to help children realize their fullest potential.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I just began my 10th year as an educator and I am proud to say I have been a Guthrie Blue Jay for all 10 of those years
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? The most influential person in my career was my own high school guidance counselor. She walked me through some tough times and helped me realize the significance of a mentor in the life of a young person.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Serge Ibaka. I always tell my students to go out and see the world before settling down. I am impressed by the young players who move half way around the world following their dreams.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Enjoy your school days. Learn where you want to go in life and work toward that goal.
  • Susan Rindal - Vanoss
    Thunder vs. Celtics
    January 5, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I chose to become an educator after an experience I had tutoring special needs children when I was in the sixth grade. From that time on, there was never anything else I wanted to do.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? This is my 16th year teaching in a public school system. This is my 7th year teaching at Vanoss Elementary School. I taught for 9 years in Montana before moving to Oklahoma.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? While there have been many influential people in my career, the children I teach are the most influential. Their specific needs often lead me in new directions and I learn from them every day!
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? I really enjoy the team as a whole, but if I have to choose a favorite Thunder player, it is really a toss-up between Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? I encourage young Thunder Fans to always do their best, get the most they can out of school and respect the education they are getting. Education is the key to the kingdom of success.
  • Jentri Guinn - Porter Consolidated
    Thunder vs. Bucks
    January 11, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I chose to become an educator because I not only wanted to make a difference, I wanted to be the person that inspired and challenged students to achieve success.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have been an educator for 8 years. I taught 5th grade for 6 years and High School English for 2 years. I have been in the Porter District for 3 years and in my current position at the High School for my 2 years.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? I have been fortunate enough to have many influential teachers throughout my education and in my career, but the most influential is my family. My husband and daughters are extremely supportive and make sacrifices above and beyond so that I can teach. My mom is also my role model because since I was young, she has demonstrated that one can raise a family well and have a successful career.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? I can’t say that I have a favorite, because each of these young men have so many admirable traits. The power and influence they have on today’s society is significant and when they use that power and influence to be a role model to students, they are my favorite. I love to hear and share the stories with my students about the great things the Thunder players do in the community to give back and help others because that is what makes them true stars.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Education is the key to success. It is your ladder to climb. The journey up the ladder might not always be easy or fun, but it is worthwhile. When you reach the top and see all that you have access to with a quality education, then it will have been worth it.
  • Angela Johnson - Muskogee
    Thunder vs. Warriors
    January 17, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I feel it is a calling to be an educator. I feel I have a gift for helping children learn and the intrinsic rewards can’t be measured.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have been in education for 21 years in one way or another, but have been with Muskogee Public School for 14 years.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My Mother, Shirley Burnes, who taught for 28 years. Her dedication to her students was very inspiring.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Education is the key that unlocks a productive future, treasure it.
  • Mara Richards - Durant
    Thunder vs. Kings
    January 19, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I became an educator because of my passion for learning along with the desire to pass this passion onto others.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I am starting my 16th year of teaching and the 14th year at Durant.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? The people that have influenced me the most in becoming an educator have been the many role models in my family and throughout my own school experience.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? My favorite Thunder Player has to be Kevin Durant.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Education is the way up and the way out. Knowledge is a living thing that when engaged with passion and interest can lead to success in school and in life.
  • Teresa Fletcher - Mustang
    Thunder vs. Trail Blazers
    January 21, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? My mom instilled in me a sincere desire to do my very best so that I might have a brighter and more self-fulfilling future than she herself experienced. I can think of very few other professions where I have the opportunity to have such a positive and lasting impact on young lives.
  • How long have you been an educator? I have been an educator for eighteen years; seventeen of those years have been in First Grade! I have been at Centennial Elementary for six years.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My husband, Max, is definitely the most influential person in my career. He is also an educator and he has always supported me and made me feel like I was a compassionate teacher and caring role model for young children.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant is my very favorite Thunder Player. I absolutely love to watch him play! More importantly, he is such a positive and respectful role model for our children. Even if he were not such a huge star, he would still be my favorite because of how he portrays himself in the public for all of our children to witness.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? An education gives you the power you need to make so many dreams come true; just like being a Thunder basketball player. Even if it is not in your destiny to become a professional ball player; your education can give you so many of the tools you need to succeed in life, such as responsibility, self-respect, determination, perseverance, and integrity. Dream big and get an education!
  • Heather Meldrum - Oklahoma City
    Thunder vs. Hawks
    January 27, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? My path to become a teacher was more of a calling from God to use the talents and gifts He gave me to serve others than a conscious decision by me. I spent 8 years with Baptist Medical followed by an 11 year career with MidFirst Bank before my journey to become a teacher began. Neither of those jobs fulfilled me as much as teaching. I used to HAVE to go to work each day, now I GET to go and serve our kids each day. To me teaching is the most rewarding profession because you really do see miracles happen every day.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have been an educator since 2006 when I graduated from UCO in Edmond. I have served Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village since that time.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? God. Anyone else I could mention would have been place in my life because of Him. My parents are both gone and they raised me to know who God is and how to serve others first.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Seems like the obvious answer, but Kevin Durant. As a teacher I try to instill into my students the drive, determination and servant mindedness he displays on and off the court. In a world driven by a desire to have more and do less Mr. Durant stands out among the few and says I will do more to be more and give more.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? The most rewarding and memorable experiences in your life will most likely come after hours of hard work and moments of failure. Your education is just the beginning of that work.
  • Nicole Jones - Western Heights
    Thunder vs. Grizzlies
    February 3, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I have always enjoyed working with children and introducing them to new ideas and discoveries. It is such a joy to watch them grow and succeed in life.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have been teaching for 8 years, all of which have been spent working at my current location, Western Heights Middle School.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My mother and my husband are my biggest influences in my teaching career.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant (and really all)
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Education provides us with the critical skills we need to achieve our goals in life. Staying in school will provide you with the best opportunities to reach your own goals and have a successful future.
  • Brooke Brown - Norman
    Thunder vs. Timberwolves
    February 5, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? As a pivotal model in children’s lives, I have an awesome responsibility to make an impression on each child’s character and motivation for learning. I have always had a passion for serving young children, and I cannot imagine any other profession that is more difficult, more rewarding, and requires more personal investment and “love of the game” than that of a teacher.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? This year is my tenth year of teaching. I have been teaching at Roosevelt Elementary in Norman Public Schools for six years, and am currently teaching third grade.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My parents, Bob and Brenda, and sister, Leslie, have served as my lifelong examples, and consistently encourage me to exemplify character, academic dedication, and service to others. My husband, Andy, shows constant compassion, patience, and pride in my teaching responsibilities.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant is my favorite player because he is such a positive role model, both on and off the court. He is truly a source of pride for Oklahoma, and my third graders love to wear his jerseys to school!
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Each day within your classrooms, you have the opportunity to learn, lead, improve, cooperate, and care for others. If you practice these skills each and every day, your education will lead you toward a happy, successful life with limitless possibilities. “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.” –Theodore Roosevelt
  • Melissa Farias - Shawnee
    Thunder vs. Knicks
    February 9, 2014


    Crista McCann - Stillwater
    Thunder vs. Heat
    February 20, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I originally planned to teach while pursuing another degree, but I fell in love with it and decided it was what I was made to do!
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? This is my 10th year as a teacher, my 3rd year at Stillwater Middle School.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My art teacher as a child, Susan Wyback. She was wild and creative, just like an art teacher should be.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant because he has shown such generosity and compassion for the people of Oklahoma, especially the schools and students!
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? School is your best shot at making yourself the best YOU that you can be. Then use that smart & talented you to make the world the best it can be!
  • Blake Connelly - Jenks
    Thunder vs. Clippers
    February 23, 2014


  • Annie Duggan - Bethany
    Thunder vs. Cavaliers
    February 26, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I have always enjoyed working with students and sharing my passion for music. Music has allowed so many wonderful opportunities and I want to share them with my students!
  • How long have you been an educator? This is my 8th year of teaching and I have been at Bethany Public Schools all 8 years.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My parents have been the most influential in my teaching career. They have always supported my music through private lesson, attending concerts and making sure I had a great education.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? My favorite is Kevin Durant! He is not only a great player but such a leader in the community!
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Education can be your ticket to fulfilling your dreams. The knowledge and habits you learn in your education are some of the important tools you need for success in life.
  • Kelly Fike - Byng
    Thunder vs. Grizzlies
    February 28, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I have a passion for math and working with young people. I enjoy seeing a student/young person grow as individuals and as a learner. I want to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have been teaching for 19 years. This is my sixth year at Byng Junior High.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My dad has been very influential on my life and career choice. He himself was an educator, and he is a great example of the positive impact an educator can have on the lives of young people.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Nick Collison
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Education is vital to each person and their ability to obtain their goals and dreams. The opportunities that an education has to offer, opens doors and encourages limitless possibilities for kids.
  • Diana Edwards - Glenpool
    Thunder vs. Bobcats
    March 2, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I have a heart for kids and their future. I want to help as many as I can.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school?I am starting my 26th year and my 6th year at Glenpool.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? I cannot name one person, it is the collective group of all past and current educators that I have been blessed to work with. I have learned many things from all the teachers that I have been around and thank them for things they have taught me.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? What you decide to do with the educational opportunities that you are given will shape your future.
  • Rebecca Colton - Harrah
    Thunder vs. 76ers
    March 4, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? Obviously every career enables you to be a positive influence, but not every career affords you the opportunity to impact so many lives as teaching does. While not all my students fall in love with reading Shakespeare, writing essays or even diagramming sentences, it’s my goal that all of my students leave my classroom with a better understanding of Literature, of their own writing abilities, and most importantly how to express their thoughts and ideas.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I am in my seventh year of teaching and my seventh year at Harrah Junior High.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? Growing up in the home of an educator is definitely the biggest factor in my decision to teach. My mother modeled how to be a positive influence in both the short and long terms. Teaching is one of the few professions that allows you to make a tangible difference today, tomorrow and the many tomorrows thereafter.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant is my favorite Thunder player because I appreciate his work ethic and his commitment to helping others.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Education is more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic—it’s an investment in yourself and in your future. Education can take you wherever you’re willing to go, depending how invested you want to be. Make the most of it, invest wholeheartedly
  • Betina Jones-Parra - Noble
    Thunder vs. Rockets
    March 11, 2014


    Amy Bixler - Piedmont
    Thunder vs. Lakers
    March 13, 2014


    Valerie Johnson - Kingfisher
    Thunder vs. Mavericks
    March 16, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I have always wanted to work with children, and being in the classroom was a way to interact with youth in a fun and creative environment.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? This is my 22nd year as a teacher, and I have taught at Kingfisher Middle School for a total of 10 years.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? I cannot name just one person who has made the most difference in my career because I have been fortunate enough to work with many wonderful examples and mentors. Surrounding myself with energetic people that love the kids has been the most helpful thing for me.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Derek Fisher
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Find your passion! It may be science, reading, art, sports, etc., but learn all you can. With this new age of technology the sky is the limit!!!
  • Patsy Mann - Checotah
    Thunder vs. Nuggets
    March 24, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I love kids and I love to learn. I was privileged to have some of the finest teachers ever during my elementary, high school, college, and graduate education.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have begun my 34th year of teaching, my 25th year at Checotah High School. I teach in the same school system I attended as a child
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? The kids I have and have had in class. They have inspired and educated me for thirty-four years.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? I have great respect for Kevin Durant, but not just because he is an awesome basketball player. People like Kevin have earned their fame and fortune, but they can choose to do anything they wish with it. He has chosen to use his fame and fortune for good, and I am so impressed. Like all other Oklahomans, I was genuinely touched by his generosity to the people of Moore after the tragic tornado.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Don’t waste your time challenging authority, instead challenge yourself to become the very best that you can be. Learn everything you possibly can because someday you will really have to know something!
  • Linda Baker - Coweta
    Thunder vs. Kings
    March 28, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? One of the reasons I became an educator is that I had some outstanding teachers who made school a very positive experience for me. I just loved going to school and still do.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? My career in education began 18 years ago, and I am currently in my tenth year of teaching seventh grade world geography at Coweta Junior High.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? Three of my former teachers were very influential in my decision to become a teacher. They were my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Geraldine Miltich, my high school government teacher, Mrs. Judy Baggett, and Dr. David Cox, a college professor. They were exceptional
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? My favorite Thunder player is Serge, the best defender in the NBA.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? I would encourage all young Thunder fans to develop a love for learning and always strive to do their best in all areas of their lives.
  • Tammy Richeson - Altus
    Thunder vs. Jazz
    March 30, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I wanted to make a difference in the children that I have in my class every year. Not all children come to you ready to learn and “on level.” I like the challenge of preparing them for life and their future in school. I love teaching and making a difference for every child that I come in contact with each school year.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? Nineteen years total experience and eight years at my current school.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? I have a dear friend who is a retired teacher. She took me under her wing when I was a young teacher and allowed me the freedom to make mistakes, steal ideas, and learn what it meant to be a great teacher. She was my mentor for many years and I will always be grateful for the positive influence that she had on my career. Deannice Hughes taught in Altus for many years. I still keep in contact with her to this day.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? I love them all but I have to say I enjoy watching Kendrick Perkins and his facial expressions during all of the games. I love his intensity and his desire to keep all of the players around him ready to play.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Knowledge! You can never learn enough. I would encourage any young person to study and to find something that interests them and learn as much about that subject as possible. I would encourage them to read and to become a lifelong learner. Not everyone is going to attend college but they can gain a wealth of knowledge by attending career tech institutions, colleges, or complete an online degree. Everyone can be successful.
  • Iva Bingham - Tecumseh
    Thunder vs. Spurs
    April 3, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I became an educator because I wanted to help children learn the importance of doing their best in everything they do and to learn how to set goals and work to meet those goals.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have taught for 23 years. This is my first year to teach at the Middle School. I teach sixth and seventh grade Science. My first 22 years were all at the fifth grade level.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My mother-in-law whose was an elementary school principal has had the most influence on my career. She always had very high standards for her teachers and I have used that example to set high expectations for students and myself.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? My favorite Thunder player is Russell Westbrook. I love his determination and the fact that he never gives up on a play.
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? My advice to the young Thunder fans is to always do their best and to set goals and keep working to meet those goals.
  • Lynee Hess - Liberty
    Thunder vs. Pelicans
    April 11, 2014


    Barbara Bayless - Choctaw-Nicoma Park
    Thunder vs. Pistons
    April 16, 2014


  • Why did you choose to become an educator? I was teaching a Sunday School class at our church in California, and realized you could really change a child’s life. I left my career of sales, and became credentialed to teach elementary school at 46 years old.
  • How long have you been an educator? How long have you been teaching at your current school? I have been teaching 10 years total, and 4 years at James Griffith Intermediate in Choctaw, Oklahoma.
  • Who was/is the most influential person in your career? My brother—he currently mentors principals in California and has been an incredible support and mentor.
  • Who is your favorite Thunder player? Kevin Durant---he appears to love his mom, and is a great community advocate---in fact the entire organization is extremely community oriented! How wonderful for our state!
  • What word of advice would you give to young Thunder Fans in regards to the importance of education? Education is the ticket to your dreams. Anything you want to do in life IS possible when you can read, write, and communicate. Being educated is more than just learning reading, math, science, and social studies. To be educated is to be able to know you have the ability and skills to reach for the stars and follow your dreams. You are confident in following your dreams because you have a strong foundation that will hold you up.