Tag Archives: Palo Duro HS

Educator has it right: Come visit us, Mme. Education Secretary

I want to give a full-throated cheer to a former colleague of mine who has gone on to do some great work in public education classrooms.

Shanna Peeples, who was named 2015 National Teacher of the Year, these days works in the administration of the Amarillo Independent School District. Until this school year, she taught English at Palo Duro High School. She was named National Teacher of the Year and was feted in a White House ceremony hosted by President Barack Obama. We worked for a time together many years ago for the same newspaper, the Amarillo Globe-News.

What has Peeples done to earn praise from yours truly? She has invited the current education secretary, Betsy DeVos, to visit Amarillo. Come see what’s going on here, Shanna has told DeVos.

Lord knows the education secretary could use some on-site experience visiting public schools, talking to educators who work for public school districts and to public school students.

Peeples made her invitation known on social media. She has said she’ll bring the “coffee and donuts” to a meeting with Secretary DeVos.

I want to join the one-time National Teacher of the Year in inviting DeVos to Amarillo.

Look at it this way, Mme. Secretary: Amarillo sits in the middle of the Texas Panhandle, which voted overwhelmingly for the guy who nominated you, Donald J. Trump. This is ostensibly friendly territory. Amarillo ain’t Berkeley, if you get my drift.

DeVos, though, has zero experience with public education. Not as a student, or the mother of students. She ought to come here and take a look at the work being done by those who work for the very public to which the secretary also answers.

Nice going, Shanna. I hope the secretary accepts your invitation.

Texan of the Year? From Amarillo? Why not, indeed?

The Dallas Morning News makes a huge deal every year about selecting its Texan of the Year.

One of the paper’s editorial writers/bloggers, Rodger Jones, has pitched the idea that Shanna Peeples, the National Teacher of the Year, should be nominated for the paper’s acclaimed award.


I concur with what Jones is suggesting.

But I’m biased. Like a lot of folks in these parts, my path crossed Shanna’s years ago when we worked for the same newspaper here in Amarillo. She went on to pursue her calling as a teacher and, well, she’s succeeded beautifully.

As Jones writes in his blog: “Shanna can tailor instruction to the needs of her students, whether she is working with refugees who have suffered traumatic events in their lives, or AP students who crave challenging curriculum or at-risk students who are attending school in the evenings to recover lost credits,” Palo Duro Principal Sandy Whitlow said. “The bottom line is that her students know she truly cares about them, and she will invest every ounce of energy in helping them attain their goals.”

How can you not consider this dedicated and talented public school teacher to be Texan of the Year?