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Positively Oklahoma: Aeros Honoring 40 Oklahoma Educators

Posted at 12:07 PM, Apr 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-07 13:07:30-04

MCALESTER, Okla. — The Aeros Awards of Excellence celebrating Oklahoma teachers is expanding.

"Now we like to say we go all the way from the Texas state line to the Kansas state line!" said co-founder Christopher Plunkett.

This year, the awards doubled, and 40 teachers from across the Sooner State will be treated to a night to remember.

"We're just excited to honor these folks and give them a special night out," said co-founder Ben Capers.

A black-tie banquet in McAlester honored the first 20 extraordinary educators on April 4.

Kayla Adams, a special education teacher from Atoka, took home top honors and was named 2024 Southeastern Oklahoma Educator of the Year. "This just blows me away. I was not expecting this. There are so many wonderful educators here tonight with so many great things that they've done, and I'm just so honored, truly. It means a lot," said Mrs. Adams.

She also won $1000 for her classroom. Plunkett said, "That thousand dollars goes back into their pocket to do whatever helps out in the classroom, and we've just seen some wonderful things happen with just a little bit of money. To be able to give back to these teachers, it's just a wonderful thing."

Shonda Tyler from Wilberton also won $250 and the Social Media award.

Edwards and Patterson Law Firm revealed another surprise that night. Tony Edwards said, "We decided it would be a good thing to award a scholarship to a senior graduating from a winning teacher's school. That way, it gets the school a little more involved and does not just single out one teacher, but it helps the school and helps the students obviously, and the students are what everyone is here for."

The awards are still ongoing. Aeros will honor 20 more teachers in Northeast Oklahoma on April 25 because they say celebrating our educators is critical.

"Teachers don't get the credit that they deserve sometimes. I know the job is not easy, and they don't get paid what they should. They work in the evening, sometimes grading papers, and use money out of their pockets to do things in their classroom. We feel like this is our way of thanking them for all the hard work they do," said Capers.

School administrators nominate the teachers, and a panel of local college presidents choose the winner.

You can learn more about the awards here.

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