District Teacher of the Year
Please join us in congratulating our 2022-23 District Teacher of the Year,
Mrs. Stephanie Barger!
Stephani Barger, a special education teacher at the Owasso High School East Campus, was named the 2023 Owasso Public Schools Teacher of the Year on March 23 during a ceremony at the Mary Glass Performing Arts Center. Barger was selected from a group of 15 OPS site Teachers of the Year by a committee of 30 OPS educators throughout the district.
“Tonight was really special, as we not only celebrated the work of our incredible teachers but also for the first time honored our support personnel and substitutes,” OPS Superintendent Dr. Margaret Coates said. “I have such great respect for our teachers and the work they do every day to elevate engagement and instruction in the classroom for our students. Stephani Barger is an outstanding educator who is a shining example of serving students with passion, kindness, and love. This passion is a gift that she brings to the classroom that her students will cherish for a lifetime."
A graduate of Owasso Public Schools herself, Barger has spent the last 17 years teaching special education in the district. She served two years (1994-96) as a paraprofessional for OPS before completing her degree in Special Education from Northeastern State in 1999. Upon graduation, she worked as a special education teacher for Oologah Public Schools for six years (1999-2005) and returned home to Owasso to teach special education in August 2005.
“When I was in high school, I just knew that this (OHS) is where I wanted to come back to,” Barger said. “So to be named their Teacher of the Year and now the District Teacher of the Year, it is the most amazing experience of my life next to my grandchildren. My students are my why. I come here every day to make sure that they have some happiness at school. I make sure that my room, my hallway, my programs, Special Olympics, and all of it, are their happy place where everyone is welcome. I couldn’t be here without them.”
Barger summarizes her teaching philosophy with one word: welcome. She strives every day to create an environment where all students are welcome to learn, to create, and to simply be who they are. She believes that every student deserves that safe and loving environment, where they can be themselves and develop their purpose.
It is important to Barger that her students feel valued and she believes that if a student knows they are welcome, they will feel safe enough to let down the walls that could prevent learning from taking place. All students and accomplishments are celebrated in her classroom, no matter how large or small the achievement. From the star on the field to the student with multiple disabilities who only communicates with sounds, all are welcome, all are valued and all are family.
Barger will complete the application process to be considered for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.