Oklahoma teacher announced as finalist for National Teacher of the Year

TULSA, Okla. — An Oklahoma teacher is a finalist for 2023 National Teacher of the Year.

Rebecka Peterson, Oklahoma’s Teacher of the Year and a math teacher at Union High School, was announced as one of five finalists for National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State Schools Officers on Wednesday.

Union Public Schools said this is the first time in their history that the district has had a finalist in the top five for the national award.

Peterson has previously said that teaching high school was not part of her plan, but the profession found her.

“This job found me, not the other way around. However, aside from my family, this job offered me my life’s greatest gift: It revealed my purpose and exposed a passion I cannot deny,” said Peterson in 2022. “I feel alive when I am with my students. I love who I am when I am with them. This job is my calling.”

Along with Peterson, the other four finalists are state teachers of the year from Alaska, Connecticut, the District of Columbia and Illinois. The finalists will conduct interviews with the National Teacher of the Year Program’s Selection Committee.

The 2023 National Teacher of the Year will be announced this spring and will spend the next year serving as an ambassador for education and an advocate for all teachers and students.

Peterson will be welcomed home by students and staff at a celebration in her honor at Union High School on Friday at 10 a.m.