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Lisa Stacey named Mustang Public Schools District Teacher of the Year

 Lisa Stacey accepts award


Lisa Stacey, Mustang Middle School’s Teacher of the Year, was named the Mustang Public Schools District 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year. Stacey told the banquet crowd it was an honor to be selected and acknowledged the other 13 site Teachers of the Year. 

“I don’t even know where to start. We do everything as a team,” she said of her math department. “Every decision we make, we make as a team. My administrative team, the support you guys provide is phenomenal. I feel privileged to be part of Mustang, and to be home.” 

The 1999 graduate of Mustang High School returned to be a Bronco again in 2015. Her desire to be a teacher started in the halls of Mustang Middle School when she was in Leslie Reynolds’ math class. 

“I loved her. I loved her class. I loved the subject,” Stacey said.”Anytime I think of why I became a teacher, I distinctly have an image of her doing her thing. I always loved math in general. I love the cleanness of it. There’s a process and you know if your answer is correct or incorrect. It’s very black and white until you get into upper level math.” 

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Stacey enrolled in the College of Education at the University of Oklahoma but fell victim to the stigma that comes with being an education major: too much work for not enough money. She changed her major to business. She loved math so accounting seemed like a good choice.

Her roommate though, was still in education.

“I would see what she was doing and we would have these conversations,” Stacey said. “I would think, “Oh my gosh, what am I doing? I want to do what you’re doing. I don’t want to be sitting over here in accounting.’ The accounting college versus the education college, two totally different cultures.” 

Stacey started her teaching career in Moore. Three years ago she came home to Mustang. She’s experienced significant revelations since she first set foot in a classroom. 

“I was very good at math. The teacher would lecture and we would work some examples,” she said. “My assumption growing up was that it worked that way for everyone. That’s been the big thing for me in growing as a teacher. Just because it worked for me and that’s the way we’ve done it for years, it’s not actually working for the majority of the students.”

She started relying on the veteran teachers around her.

“I latched on to some amazing teachers early,” she said. “I was super lucky to go to lots of professional development in my subject area and teaching in general which has helped. It helped me to be able to release some control and do groups instead of rows, to get the technology out. Even though I’m not the most comfortable with it, I know these kids are so they can teach me things. The challenge for me has been changing what I thought teaching was going to be like into what it really is. I think you can only learn that once you’re in.” 

The math department at Mustang Middle School is going through its own metamorphosis, evolving with the students and how they learn. The math team implemented digital learning with a lesson in dance.

“We said we were going to give them a task,” Stacey said. “We told them, ‘Your objective today is to learn the dance, Copperhead Road. You have 30 minutes.’” 

At first, the class was baffled. Then Stacey and the other math teachers asked them, “How do you figure out how to do anything else you want to do?” 

Within 30 minutes, they had learned the dance. Some learned via Youtube or other internet sites. Once someone had the dance down, they taught others.

“It was beautiful, actually, watching them,” she said. “They were smiling and having fun. Then we pulled them together and asked, ‘Okay, what were your strategies for success today?’” 

The next day, they gave their students the next math “standard” on the calendar, to graph a line from slope intercept form. They were allowed to work together or alone. They could use technology and learn from each other. They could request help from one of the teachers at any time. 

“The freedom and independence of it all was a big thing,” she said. “That group earned one of the highest grades on a standard that they’ve had all year. It was a ‘wow’ moment for us.” 

Stacey is honored to be chosen Teacher of the Year, but it’s a hard honor to accept. 

“For me, it’s hard for me to take the individual recognition of it,” she said. “It’s the team. We do everything as a team. It’s hard for me to say, “Yay me!” When it’s actually ‘Yay us!’ But, I’m very appreciative of it. It’s very humbling to be voted as that among your peers.” 

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