OCTOBER 28, 2009

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USAO Alum Named 2010 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year

Photo of USAO's Alumnus Grimm and his class.
USAO graduate Brian Grimm, back, with his class at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa. Grimm was named the 2010 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year at the State Fair Sept. 22. He will receive prizes including tuition waivers, use of a car for a year and about $10,000 in cash awards.

It's been more than 40 years since a Tulsa Public School teacher won the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Award, but that changed this year thanks to a USAO alum. Brian Grimm, a 1996 graduate of USAO, was named the 2010 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Sept. 22.

Grimm received his bachelor's degree from USAO and a master of education degree from the University of Oklahoma. State Superintendent Sandy Garrett presented the award to Grimm during the State Fair of Oklahoma.

"Teaching is all I've ever wanted to do. I come from a family of teachers -- several generations deep. It's in my blood. It's who I am," Grimm said in his nomination video. "As selfish as it sounds, I get more from them than they do from me." In his written portfolio for the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year competition, he wrote that his greatest contribution was his message.

"Teachers need to know they can do it [because] it is not an easy task to pull kids away from failure. Apathy is easy but change is a challenge. Students must know that they are not a product of their environment, but rather through education and empowerment, their environment becomes a product of their resolve to change. Students must know that their beliefs drive their actions and their actions drive their community."

Garrett praised Grimm for dedication. "I'm grateful neither my staff nor I are among the judges for Teacher of the Year, because it is too difficult of a task to choose just one among 12 worthy finalists. Yet I'm confident Mr. Grimm will represent his district and state very well in the national competition," Garrett said. "He is a passionate, dedicated educator who sets high expectations for his students and is delivering results in an urban setting that can often be challenging."

Grimm teaches English II, English III and pre-advanced English placement at Will Rogers High School. In addition to his class duties, he is the chair of the English department at the school. He's been a member of the Will Rogers faculty for five years.

Grimm has taught for 13 years. Before joining Will Rogers in 2004, he taught at several Texas schools. He has been the Will Rogers Teacher of the Year since 2007.

"He is not afraid to do anything it takes to make it happen for his kids," said Kevin Burr, former principal at Will Rogers. "I have seen more than 10,000 teachers in my life and Brian is the single-best teacher I've ever seen. He deserves everything he gets."

A state committee comprised of education, business and civic leaders chooses the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year in a formal selection process that includes individual and group interviews, a portfolio and video. Six state regional committees comprised of teachers and parents each selected two of the 12 finalists.

The winner leaves the classroom for one year to serve as Oklahoma's Ambassador of Teaching, conducting presentations to teachers, business and civic groups.