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OPS Honors Outstanding Employees at Evening of Distinction

OPS Honors Outstanding Employees at Evening of Distinction

Additionally, Sean Parker was honored as the district’s Support Employee of the Year, while Susi Eastin was selected as the Substitute Teacher of the Year.

Kennett was selected from a group of 15 OPS site Teachers of the Year by a committee of 30 OPS educators throughout the district. Additionally, a pair of district committees voted on a group of nominees to identify finalists and winners of the Support Employee and Substitute Teacher of the Year awards.

“Tonight was simply incredible! We not only celebrated the work of our exceptional teachers, but also honored our support personnel and substitutes,” OPS Superintendent Dr. Margaret Coates said. “I'm inspired everyday by the passion and dedication displayed to students, families, and each other, by our teachers. Honoring Amanda Kennett as our Teacher of the Year is a testament to her remarkable dedication and impact on our school community. Throughout her tenure, Amanda has consistently exemplified the theme of intentionality and fostering meaningful connections with her students. One of Amanda's most admirable qualities is her unwavering commitment to understanding each student as an individual. She doesn't just teach a subject; she invests her time and energy into getting to know her students on a personal level. By doing so, she creates a classroom environment where every student feels seen, valued, and understood.

“Honoring Sean Parker as our Support Employee of the Year is a reflection of his outstanding contributions and dedication to excellence within our technology department. Sean's tireless efforts and expertise have been instrumental in ensuring the smooth operation of our school's technological infrastructure. His adeptness at collaboration, communication and support is well-noted, underscoring his capacity for effective teamwork with the technology team and across the district.

“Our school district could not function effectively without our substitute teachers and Susi Eastin is one of our most dedicated. As a substitute teacher, she goes beyond simply fulfilling instructional duties; she forms genuine connections with each student, treating them with kindness, empathy, and respect. Susi's nurturing and compassionate approach creates a supportive learning environment where every child feels respected and cared for. I congratulate these three individuals and I am grateful that they are part of the Owasso Ram Family."

Kennett has taught Spanish for nearly 20 years, with 12 years of teaching experience in Owasso Public Schools. After earning degrees in Speech Pathology and Spanish from The University of Tulsa in 2002, Kennett served for seven years (2004-11) at the Owasso 6th Grade Center. She then moved to Tulsa Public Schools for eight years (2011-19) before returning to OPS for a role at the 8th Grade Center in 2019. In addition to her responsibilities at the 6th Grade Center, Kennett obtained a Master’s Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Oklahoma State University in 2008.

“I feel humbled,” Kennett said. “I do believe that I am surrounded by amazing coworkers that have become friends and family over the years. I just feel that without their support and guidance … it’s a hard job and you just keep going. Sometimes when you stumble, your teacher friends are there to lift your spirits. Sometimes when you feel down, the kids are there to lift up your spirits. I feel like it’s this huge community of administrators, teachers, parents and students that we’re all in this together.”

Kennett, who also was named Teacher of the Year in 2015 while at the Zarrow International School in Tulsa, holds a National Board Certification, has served as a mentor teacher and has been a member of several professional organizations, including the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the Oklahoma Foreign Language Teachers’ Association (OFLTA) and the Oklahoma Association of Bilingual Educators (OABE).

Despite these achievements, Kennett believes that her greatest accomplishments as an educator are the connections that she has made with students and their families, while also igniting a desire in her students to learn more. She places intentional focus on relationships with her students and partnerships with their families as part of her belief that it takes a team effort to help each student be the best version of themselves. 

One way Kennett builds those relationships is through her teaching style of using the content to learn more about the students’ lives. Students participate in a “Persona Especial” interview each week where they are asked questions about themselves and respond in Spanish. 

Overall, Kennett works to ensure that her students experience an environment of mutual respect, and feel safe enough to take risks, such as asking questions or sharing responses. 

Kennett will complete the application process to be considered for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year over the next several months.

Meanwhile, Parker is a System Administrator in the Technology Department, where he has served for the last three years. He provides support to all school sites and manages data feeds from PowerSchool, the district’s student information system, to more than 200 different applications that students interact with on a daily basis. 

Eastin has been a substitute teacher throughout the district for eight years, serving primarily at the elementary level. This year, she has served as a substitute nearly 70 days for an average of more than two days per week.


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