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One of Mustang High School’s two Teachers of the Year, Chad Harper, has two classrooms. One is filled with desks and computers and the other, separated by a wall that is half glass, is full of machines from drill presses to a 3D printer. He sometimes has both classrooms running at once, which is appropriate. Harper is a study in movement, boundless energy, and volume.

“There is no doubt I have ADHD,” he said. “If I went and got tested it would be a waste of money. I tried for years to outgrow it or suppress it, but now I embrace it. If the kids get bored and I get bored, we’re doing something different.”
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Posted Friday, March 24, 2017
Mustang Elementary’s 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year is media specialist Tanya Bernhardt. Her history with the school is long. She went to elementary school there herself, did her student teaching there and ended up staying.

Getting back to Mustang Elementary to teach, though, took a little time.

After she graduated from Mustang High School, Bernhardt got a job as an apartment leasing agent. By the time she was 25, the apartments were sold and Bernhardt had to start over. Ready for a more stable career, she took an interest inventory test. Teaching and nursing both came up. Bernhardt earned her EMT certification and rode the ambulance.

“I let that drop. I did not like it. And if I didn’t like that I knew I wouldn’t like nursing,” she said. “From there, I went to teaching and did one class. I had to observe in a daycare and absolutely loved it.”
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Posted Friday, March 24, 2017
Mustang Education Center’s Teacher of the Year, Kishia Steiner, has found her niche in pre-kindergarten. For 10 years, she has greeted Mustang’s tiniest students at the beginning of the year when they don’t know how to line up at the door or how to wait their turn to talk. By May, she says good-bye to little students who can write their names, recognize the letters of the other children’s names and can confidently manage classroom procedures.

Steiner graduated from high school in Carnegie, Oklahoma and credits her own teachers with the realization that she too would teach.

“I had such positive experiences with my teachers from the beginning,” she said. “I can remember the teachers who had an influence on my life. They kind of just made me who I am.”

(Photo by Vickers Photography)
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Posted Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mustang North Middle School Teacher of the Year Marilyn Bilbrey keeps things that matter to her. Her own experience in seventh and eighth grade was difficult. She mentally catalogued the smiles and kind words from her teachers, but she has kept the papers with thoughtful comments in the margins all these years. As a teacher, she’s no different. She has antique trunks, storage spaces and filing cabinets brimming with kids’ notes and special school projects.

“I decided when I was in the seventh or eighth grade that I wanted to be a teacher because my teachers made such a difference to me,” she said. “I love English, I love grammar, literature and writing. Those things are my passion, but these kids have my heart.”

(Photo by Vickers Photography)
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Posted Thursday, March 23, 2017

David Lively, whose 50th high school reunion is in June, was the kid who played school all summer using his old workbooks. Over the course of his career, he’s taught multiple grades, been a principal, retired from teaching once and was named this year’s Teacher of the Year for Horizon Intermediate.

There was never a question about what he would do with his life except that one time in college when he made assistant manager at a TG&Y store. It seemed like a reasonable idea to quit school and make great money full time. He celebrated with his first new car, a bronze Chevy Malibu with a black vinyl top.

“I worked there maybe a year,” he said. “That’s all it took.”

(Photo by Vicker's Photography)

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Posted Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Centennial Elementary’s Teacher of the Year is one of more than 110 district employees who graduated from Mustang High School. Cheryl Harrison, who teaches fourth grade English Language Arts and Social Studies, is a life-long Bronco who married her high school sweetheart after graduation.

Harrison earned a degree in home economics from the University of Central Oklahoma, but jobs were hard to come by for something that specialized. Her family owned a business in Mustang, Calico Cottage, where Harrison found a knack for teaching hands-on classes in beginning sewing or crafts like toll painting. After starting a family, she enrolled at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma to get her certification to teach elementary school.

(Photo by Vickers Photography)
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Posted Monday, March 20, 2017
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