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Press Release

Monday, April 27, 2015

Texas Teacher Named 2015 National Teacher of the Year

High School English Teacher Shanna Peeples To Be Honored by President Obama Wednesday at White House
Contact:Olympia Meolaolympia.meola@ccsso.org202-336-7071

Washington, D.C. (April 27, 2015) - The Council of Chief State School Officers today announced that Shanna Peeples, a high school English teacher from Amarillo, Texas, is the 2015 National Teacher of the Year.

Peeples teaches at Palo Duro High School, where she splits her days as a high school English teacher and as a mentor, coaching and challenging her colleagues to grow in the teaching profession.

"I choose to think that, as National Teacher of the Year, I represent the people who love what they do. Who are willing to do whatever it takes to help kids. Who stay after school for hours. Who steal time from their own families to help our kids. Who may be the only person that shows up at games for a kid, or at plays, at concerts. For many kids, teachers are the only person for them," Peeples said. 

"And so to me, the title of Teacher of the Year is a way for me to always talk about what teachers do for our kids. And I am exceedingly proud of the honor of representing men and women who pour themselves into this, the most important job there is."

Peeples' students come from diverse backgrounds, as Amarillo is one of several cities in the country that helps refugees find new paths in life and gain access to critical resources. As a result, Peeples works with many students who speak English as a second language or have recently entered the United States.

As the 2015 National Teacher of the Year, Peeples will spend a year traveling the nation to represent educators and advocate on behalf of teachers. She also hopes to use the opportunity to shape the conversation about reaching students in poverty, as well as those who have already faced extreme challenges, through a variety of teaching methods.

The National Teacher of the Year Program is run by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and presented by Voya Financial. Through the Program, CCSSO identifies the best teachers in the country, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, amplifies their voices, and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels.

"The Council of Chief State School Officers is proud to honor the great work of teachers across the country through the National Teacher of the Year Program. Over the next year, Shanna Peeples will serve as an outstanding ambassador for her profession," said Chris Minnich, executive director of CCSSO.

"It is clear why Shanna was selected to be the 2015 National Teacher of the Year: Shanna's dedication to teaching is all-encompassing, from the countless hours she devotes to helping every child in her classroom to the time she spends mentoring colleagues in her school district," Minnich continued. "I look forward to seeing Shanna engage people across the country in a conversation about how to improve education as she shares her vision of supporting all students and teachers."

"Shanna Peeples brings a combination of knowledge, energy and enthusiasm to her classroom and her students are the beneficiaries," said Michael Williams, Texas Commissioner of Education. "It is wonderful to see a Texas educator claim this national honor, someone who represents the very best of what you will see on campuses throughout our state."

Amarillo Independent School District Superintendent Rod Schroder said, "We are honored to showcase one of our teachers to the world. The work Shanna and teachers like her do for students cannot always be recognized on a national stage, so I am proud someone like her is being honored for her dedication in the classroom."

Every year, exemplary teachers from each state, the U.S. extra-state territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity are selected as State Teachers of the Year. From that group, the National Teacher of the Year is chosen by a panel representing 15 renowned education organizations, which collectively represent more than 7 million educators.

The finalists for 2015 National Teacher of the Year are Ann Marie Corgill (Alabama), Catherine Caine (Hawaii) and Kathy Nimmer (Indiana).  You can read more about the finalists here

All of the State Teachers of the Year have been invited to an event Wednesday at the White House, where they will be honored by President Barack Obama.

Visit for more information about Shanna Peeples, including photos and a personal biography.


The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.