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Maynard named MNMS Teacher of the Year
There is no pretense in Mustang North Middle School's Teacher of the Year. Rocky Maynard has been teaching for 30 years, 26 of those at MNMS. He's a PE teacher, an occasional math teacher and he used to coach. Now he's the athletic director for the school instead. He works weekends on a farm in Minco and part time for the City of Oklahoma City maintaining swimming pools to make ends meet for his family. He could leave teaching, cut down to one job ad make more money, but Maynard loves the kids.

"That's the only reason and that's the truth," he said. "It's because of the kids. There is not a kid in this school that I don't love."

Maynard comes from a family of educators. His dad was a principal. Maynard grew up at the school or on the ball fields watching his dad coach until he was old enough to join the teams. By the time he graduated from high school, there was no struggle to decide on a major. Of course he would be a teacher.  He quickly found that middle schoolers are his favorite.

"I love this age group," he said. "I don't know why. I just really do. This is where you can really reach them."

It's his goal to make a connection with every student. He makes the rounds on lunch duty, greeting kids with fist bumps and jokes. He believes taking time to acknowledge a student and treat them as if they matter makes a difference.

He remembers one year the algebra teacher left mid-semester. Maynard was assigned to take over the class. He can still see that one student who huddled as far to the back as she could get. She had dark multi-colored hair. She never made eye contact and never spoke. To that point in her academic career, the girl had failed every math class. Maynard made it a point to stop by her desk, not to talk to her about math, but to just talk to her.

The girl brought her score up from a 13 to an 88. From then on, math was her best subject. He saw her in the store years later, a beautiful young woman with three kids. She stopped to thank him. "Never once did I ever have someone who just loved me, who didn't talk about my hair or who didn't tell me I was hanging around with the wrong people," she said. "You only said 'I'm so glad you're in my class.'"

The incident reinforced for Maynard that he could have a positive impact on every student.

"I believe every one of my kids are important," he said. "I want a relationship with them. And after I get that, I always have one thing in mind, taking care of every single kid I have, teaching what I'm supposed to teach in the best way I know how and then I go home happy."
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