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High school educator named ‘Oklahoma Teacher of the Year’


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    NORMAN, Oklahoma (KOCO ) — Norman North High School innovative learning coach Jessica Eschbach was named the 2021 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year during a virtual ceremony Friday.

Her smile was hidden by her mask – but her reaction was obvious.

“I’m in shock and disbelief,” she said upon learning she had won.

“I want to thank Norman Public Schools and everyone who helped me on my journey to being a teacher,” she said.

Eshbach has taught at the district for seven years. She began as a social studies and English teacher at Alcott Middle School. She later worked as a librarian and teacher at Kennedy Elementary School. In the last year, she has been an innovative learning coach at Norman North.

“We’ve had a lot of pivoting to do, so we’ve to work with them on new learning programs and to reach the kids that are still learning at home,” she said.

Eschbach was chosen out of 12 finalists.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister made the announcement virtually – a first.

“She’s innovative, she’s passionate. She’s someone who has been able to articulate so very clearly how important teachers are in the lives of their students,” Hofmeister said.

To celebrate, Google and the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma delivered $10,000 in cookies to Norman North students.

“At a time where our teachers are asked to do very different things, things that they never expected to be doing, but she does it with a smile and grace, and a lot of passion,” Hofmeister said.

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