Debbie Crouch, a kindergarten teacher at Centennial Elementary School, has been selected as the 2018-2019 Edmond Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Bret Towne made the announcement March 6 during the district’s Celebration of Excellence sponsored by the Edmond Public Schools Foundation.

District Teacher of the Year Debbie Crouch with the five teacher finalists

Crouch was chosen by the district’s professional development committee following a comprehensive process that involved interviews as well as submission of a portfolio, a letter of recommendation and a video showcasing her teaching style and philosophy.

Crouch has been in her current position for nine years. She didn’t set out to be a teacher-in fact, she disliked school. A bad experience in first grade gave her the lasting impression that school “did not care about her.”  It wasn’t until her youngest son started first grade and she was hired as a teacher’s assistant in the district that she realized her calling.

“I always wanted to make a difference and I knew right then where I needed to be,” recalled Crouch.

After four years as a teaching assistant, Crouch went back to get her degree in elementary education.

“It is my greatest desire to make sure that each of my students feels loved, cared for, safe and comfortable to take risks so that they can learn and grow in my class and be excited about the years they have to come in school.”

Centennial Principal Jessele Miller says that Crouch excels at working with all types of learners, setting them up for success.

“I have witnessed her patiently talking to students who struggle with behavior by supporting them and giving them effective tools to self-regulate their own behavior. She displays patience for the early childhood learner and clearly cares for the whole child,” said Miller.

In addition to serving on several school committees, Crouch is involved in the community, serving in numerous capacities including Sunday school teacher at Newchurch OKC.

The other finalists for EPS Teacher of the Year were Cimarron Middle School Band Instructor Adam Basset; Cheyenne Middle School sixth-grade math teacher Chelsea Blackburn; West Field Elementary third-grade teacher Sarah Olivarez; Heritage Elementary first-grade teacher Angie Lane and Washington Irving Elementary second-grade teacher Nancy Priddy.

As EPS’ Teacher of the Year, Crouch will now compete in the state Teacher of the Year competition facilitated by the Oklahoma Department of Education. The state Teacher of the Year will be announced in September.