News Story

NSU alumnus surprised with ORA new teacher of the year award

(Tahlequah, Okla.)-- John Foreman, a kindergarten teacher at Central Elementary School (CES) in Bixby, headed to school on the morning of Sept. 9 just like it was any other day. Under the impression he was attending an early morning staff meeting, Foreman realized something was not right when he walked toward his building and recognized his relatives’ vehicles. As he entered the building, he was greeted with a roaring round of applause.

Each year, the Oklahoma Reading Association recognizes one new teacher who has been teaching for three or fewer years, out of a pool of candidates across the state, for doing an outstanding job in the areas of reading and literacy.

Although Foreman is fairly new to the profession, most would agree that he was meant to be in a classroom.

“He’s done a fantastic job in the short amount of time that he’s been with us,” Lydia Wilson, principal at CES said. “He knows what to do, how to do it, and we were lucky to hire him as quickly as we did this year.”

Wilson is not the first to sing praises of Foreman’s teaching abilities.

Prior to his employment at CES, Foreman spent a year and a half in the Tulsa Public School District. After his first six months, Foreman was made aware that his position at Hoover Elementary would be cut; however, his students’ families rallied around him and raised enough funds to keep him on staff for another year. Facing the same dilemma again this year, Foreman sought more secure employment and found himself at CES, also the school district in which he grew up.

“Getting hired here was really like coming home,” Foreman said.

Getting There. Foreman’s road to the education field was not clear-cut; however, his choice to attend Northeastern State University was a certainty.

“I attended TCC and obtained my associate’s degree, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I took a year off, and when I decided I wanted to be a teacher, I had no doubt that I’d attend NSU. I knew it was one of the best teaching educations I could get,” Foreman said. 

Foreman graduated from NSU in December of 2013 with an education degree specializing in early childhood. His professors at NSU agree, he is more than deserving of the recognition.

“I have had John in several of my classes,” Dr. Stephan Sargent, professor and director of the Center of Reading and Literature at NSU said. “Foreman is a fantastic teacher whose whole life revolves around the students he teaches.”

Foreman personally believes that what makes his teaching style resonate so well with his students is his belief that paper and pen alone won’t get the job done. Instead, Foreman has found that music and songs resonate with his students.

“We have songs for everything in class,” Foreman said. “I have so many parents who tell me they know all the words to the ‘red’ song and they’re really seeing that their students are grasping concepts and learning both in the classroom and at home.”

While Foreman is passionate about the success of his students inside the classroom, he is also deeply invested in their development as individuals outside of it.

“With kindergarteners coming in with so many different backgrounds and education levels, it’s amazing to watch them progress throughout the year. To watch things click for them is amazing. I’m teaching these children academically, but I’m also teaching them how to be a person. You come to love the students; they are your family, and to watch them grow as individuals, that’s an incredible opportunity.”

In addition to the entire staff of CES, many of NSU’s own were in attendance to congratulate Foreman on his recognition, including Dr. Debbie Landry, Dr. Stephan Sargent, Dr. Lisa Tritschler, Dr. Mindy Smith, Dr. Meagan Moreland, Dr. Stan Sanders and Danny Johnson.

Published: 9/25/2015 4:21:56 PM

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