After 40 years of teaching, a Tulsa educator is going out on a high note. The Lee Elementary kindergarten teacher is being named Oklahoma's Teacher of the Year in elementary education. The News on 6â€™s Heather Lewin reports this will be a bittersweet goodbye.
â€œI've been a kindergarten teacher since 1967, so this is my 40th year," said
Just walking in to Mrs. Creekpaum's kindergarten classroom brings back memories. It doesn't matter if she wasn't your teacher, it's just the feeling you get surrounded by art supplies, the alphabet and seeing someone do something they love. That must be why she still stays in touch with so many former students.
â€œIt's very humbling and very special, you see them from the time they're little and then they grow up, and they're moms and dads, and you're proud of them because they've done so well," said Creekpaum.
Creekpaum has also done well. Her years of hard work are being recognized statewide. She says the most important part of her job is building a foundation that will keep kids learning for life.
â€œI think when we do some kind of a skill or some type of an activity and I see the light come on and they say, 'I got it!' and you're going, yes!" she said.
Although she's sad to go, there are a couple of things she won't miss quite as much.
â€œIt'll be nice not to have to do lesson plans. Yes!" Creekpaum said.
But she says it with mixed emotions, now headed for an endless summer.
"It's not the end. It's kind of the beginning of some exciting new things. God has been so good to me and my family, and we have our health, and we're blessed in so many ways. I think we're going to enjoy this time to do some fun things," she said.
Mrs. Creekpaum will receive her award Saturday in Oklahoma City along with $7,500. She plans to donate $1,000 to the school, then do some traveling.
Watch the video: Local Educator Receives State Teaching Award