Northwestern graduate student named Rural Teacher of the Year

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Northwestern graduate student named Rural Teacher of the Year

October 13, 2011 

 Kristi Ramon
Kristi Ramon completed her master’s degree in educational leadership at Northwestern Oklahoma State University this summer. Because of her commitment to education, she was named Rural Teacher of the Year by the National Rural Education Association. Ramon teaches first grade and specializes in reading recovery and reading intervention at Gus Birdwell Elementary School in Spearman, Texas.

Kristi Ramon thought completing her graduate degree at Northwestern Oklahoma State University might be the highlight of her year.

Instead, Ramon’s year became even better as she was named Rural Teacher of the Year by the National Rural Education Association, based at Purdue University. She is a first grade, reading recovery and reading intervention teacher at Gus Birdwell Elementary School in Spearman, Texas.

Ramon completed a two-year master of education program this summer. Her decision to attend Northwestern was driven by her daughter’s attendance at the school.

“My daughter was in her second year at Northwestern as a graduate student and was my greatest motivator for going ahead and following a lifelong dream of mine of earning a master’s degree,” Ramon said.

The distance between her home in Spearman and Northwestern was overcome by the University’s distance learning program. Northwestern offered degree options in counseling and educational leadership in Goodwell through a partnership with Oklahoma Panhandle State University, a 45 minute drive from Ramon’s home.

“I have had an interest in administration for some time so I felt that educational leadership would be the best degree for me to earn,” Ramon said.

Superintendent Rodney Sumner was impressed with Ramon’s positive attitude.

“While others might say it can’t be done, Kristi is willing to do everything possible to make it work,” Sumner said.

Ramon’s dedication extends beyond the classroom. She is an active member of her church and community.

“Kristi has a passion for learning, both for her and others,” Principal P.J. Hanna said.

Rural Teacher of the Year Award Honorees receive a $2,000 honorarium, and the school district receives $1,000 to purchase instructional materials and school supplies. Candidates are nominated by the Texas Rural Education Association, a state affiliate organization of the National Rural Education Association.

The National Rural Education Association was organized in 1907 as a voice for rural teachers and administrators. With affiliates in 42 states, the association represents rural schools at the national level, with members who serve on national educational review panels and coalitions.

“As I look back on the past two years, I have not only learned a great deal about the responsibilities of a professional leader, but I am a better employee because of what I learned at Northwestern,” Ramon said.

“When decisions are made at the administrative level, I now understand the reasons behind the decisions. I enjoyed every teacher at Northwestern and felt they prepared me for the future.”

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