THACKERVILLE—A  Thackerville teacher has been named as a finalist for a prestigious teaching award.

Andrea Thompson, a second grade teacher at Thackerville Elementary School, will be honored at the Professional Oklahoma Educators Foundation Excellence in Education Awards Banquet on April 21. Thompson was named a finalist for the Elementary Merit Award.

The Excellence in Education Awards Banquet is a venue for recognizing and rewarding Oklahoma educators who demonstrate a commitment to their students in teaching strength of character and excellence in the classroom. Applicants go through a rigorous and extensive process before being selected.

For those that work with Thompson, the news that she is a finalist didn’t come as a shock.

“She’s very student oriented,” Heather Holland, Thackerville Elementary principal, said of Thompson. “She has a genuine interest in the students.”

Holland said during enrollment in the fall, students would talk with Thompson and she would ask them how their summer plans went, which Thompson knew in detail for each student. Holland said Thompson’s teaching style is “innovative,” as she incorporates different methods and activities to make learning a fun experience. Thompson, for example, began using free science curriculum online as a supplement to the regular curriculum and the children have responded well to the additional curriculum.

“She always try different ways to teach them where they love to learn,” Holland said.

The awards honor finalists in six merit award categories: elementary, middle school/junior high, high school, special education, non-certified staff, administrators and two character award categories: teacher and school. Applicants are nominated by their colleagues and are then filmed while teaching a class, which is used in judging the winners.

While her colleagues know what a caring, innovative teacher she is, Holland said Thompson didn’t expect the news of her nomination.

“It was a total surprise to her,” Holland said, adding that Thompson still doesn’t know which of her colleagues nominated her for the honor.

Holland said the entire school is excited about Thompson being named a finalist and they expect more great news at the banquet in April.

“We are very proud of her,” Holland said.