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Shawn Sheehan: Head of the Class



 

The morning I met Shawn Sheehan, he had just finished reading an article an his phone about whether it’s a good time to be a teacher. I asked the Norman public schools 2015 teacher of the year, “Well? Is it?”

“Of course it is,” Sheehan insisted. “If not now, when? If not us, who?”

If I’d met Sheehan in 2009, when he first arrived in Oklahoma, he might have given a different response to the same question; he had a journalism and public relations degree from Arizona State University and no job to go with it. At least that’s what he thought at the time. The right job had been there all along.


Congratulations on becoming Norman Public Schools Teacher of the Year! Does this make you a finalist for the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year?

Thank you! Yes, I am one of 12 finalists.
 

What led you into the teaching profession?

I really just happened into it. I was a military brat, and I always thought I’d go into the Air Force after college, but I had a medical issue that prevented me from doing what I’d always thought I’d do. I got my degree in journalism and public relations from Arizona State, and when I came to Norman in 2009, I didn’t have a job yet, so I thought I’d like to substitute teach for a while.
 

And you were a hit!

One principal told me he thought I was really doing some great things in the classes where I substituted and he encouraged me to be a teacher. By then, I’d also been a job coach for adults with learning differences and I thought, “Why not get on the front end of that and make a difference?” So I received a master’s degree in special education from OU.
 

I’m not crazy about the term “special education.”

Neither am I. In fact, I call it “specialized education.” Part of what we try to accomplish through a campaign I started called “Teach Like Me” is to remove the stigma that comes with labels and change perceptions about different students’ learning styles. It may still be called “special education,” but it’s very different than it was 20 – or even 10 – years ago. My students are still successful athletes, still cheerleaders and they still succeed in college; they just have bigger hurdles to overcome in the classroom.
 

Teaching comes with a few hurdles of its own.

It does – and I’m equally passionate about redefining the public perception of teaching. As a profession, it has a negative image, so why do people continue to choose a teaching career?
 

Your PR degree is starting to show. What are some tangible measures of success through the Teach Like Me campaign?

An increase in finding quality teachers and in retaining quality teachers would be great measures of success.
 

What do you think prepared you most for the classroom?

I was a server in a restaurant when I was younger – I learned how to deal with chaos and meet the needs of several demanding people at once. It was a great prep for teaching.
 

Who is your real-life hero?

My mom. I was the youngest of eight kids, and my mom did so much for us.
 

What lessons did your parents teach by example?

Attention to detail. Compassion. The importance of volunteering.
 

What do you hope people will never assume about you?

That teaching came naturally.
 

That’s going to surprise a lot of people, coming from the NPS Teacher of the Year.

I’d say the patience and compassion came naturally, but managing the constant work doesn’t. Luckily, I’ve had several excellent mentors at Norman High School.
 

What is a risk worth taking?

Devoting yourself entirely to something you believe in.
 

What do you value most in your friends?

Positivity. I think it’s so important to surround yourself with positive people.
 

Shawn Sheehan sounds Irish. But somehow …

Yeah, I was adopted from the Philippines into an Irish-American family when I was 4 days old.
 

Do you feel strongly about adoption?

I feel very strongly about it – I plan to adopt children one day.
 

Where do you see the Teach Like Me campaign a year, and five years, from now?

I hope we’ll secure more teacher discounts with retailers within a year. Within five years, I plan to have an app developed as a resource for teachers.
 

What are you most grateful for?

My parents who adopted me, which gave me the incredible opportunity to live in this country and to be surrounded by so many good people. 
 


Signal Boost

Created in 2013, the Teach Like Me Campaign (teachlikeme.org) is Sheehan’s undertaking but a true group effort, giving teachers a forum to share their triumphs and draw inspiration from each other; reminding the public how challenging and rewarding the profession can be and encouraging businesses who offer discounts for educators. As social campaigns go, it gets a gold star.

 

 

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Calendar

November 2019

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

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Visit Andy Alligator’s Fun Park on Veterans Day Weekend for a day of family fun. To honor all who have served, all active and retired military get a FREE All Day Pass! With a valid military...

Cost: FREE All-Day Pass for active and retired military

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Place
Norman, OK  73072
View map »


Sponsor: Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
Telephone: 405-321-7275
Website »

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October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

The Orange Prize-winning novel Small Island, by Andrea Levy, comes to life in an epic theatre adaptation, which explores the arrival of the Windrush Generation to the UK. Following the losses of...

Cost: $15.00

Where:
Oklahoma City Community College Visual and Perform
7777 South May Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73159
View map »

More information

Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott, Edgar Meyer, and Joshua Roman will perform. This is your chance to hear this talented group in the state-of-the-art performance hall.

Cost: Varying

Where:
McKnight Center Performance Hall
419 S. Monroe
Stillwater, OK  74074
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Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

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Show More...
Show Less...

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

An informational discussion about VillagesOKC

Cost: 0

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: VillagesOKC
Telephone: 405-990-6637
Contact Name: VillagesOKC
Website »

More information

GAUGUIN IN TAHITI: PARADISE LOST traces the legendary life story of Paul Gauguin who left France for Tahiti, feverishly in search of deep immersions into lush nature, for feelings, visions and...

Cost: $15.00

Where:
Oklahoma City Community College Visual and Perform
7777 South May Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73159
View map »

More information

Former Oklahoman editor Joe Hight discusses his debut nonfiction book: Unnecessary Sorrow: A Journalist Investigates the Life and Death of His Older Brother Ordained, Discarded, Slain by Police....

Cost: 0

Where:
Full Circle Bookstore
1900 NW Expressway
Oklahoma City, OK  73118
View map »


Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

This Christmas, give your family the gift of Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker! Step into a simpler time filled with sweet dreams and Christmas magic. With world-class artists, over...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Hudiburg Chevrolet Center
6000 Prosper Blvd
Midwest City, OK  73110
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Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Join us for candid monthly conversations about complex issues facing today's mature homeowners 

Cost: 0

Where:
Francis Tuttle
12777 N. Rockwell Ave
Oklahoma City, OK
View map »


Sponsor: VillagesOKC
Telephone: 405-990-6637
Contact Name: VillagesOKC

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Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

“My Love Affair with the Brain” is a documentary that covers the brain, the passion of scientific discovery, the creation of modern neuroscience, Albert Einstein, women in science, and...

Cost: 0

Where:
StoneCreek of Edmond
17701 N Western
Edmond , OK  73012
View map »


Sponsor: VillagesOKC
Telephone: 405-990-6637
Contact Name: VillagesOKC
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

World-renowned pianist Jonathan Biss embarked on a 9-year project of recording the complete cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. These works are among the most expressive and challenging piano...

Cost: Varying

Where:
McKnight Center Performance Hall
419 S. Monroe
Stillwater, OK  74074
View map »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event. The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bass Pro Shops
200 Bass Pro Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

Whether it’s a pair of deer in the woods of Oklahoma, or the delicate points of a snowflake in Wisconsin, Maud photographer Sarah Rodefeld is patient and steady as she aims her lens. ...

Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

The Luther Pecan Festival is November 16, 2019, on Main Street in Luther, Oklahoma. Celebrate the pecan harvest and enjoy an art show, live music, food trucks and plenty of pecan pie. Visit...

Cost: No cost.

Where:
Luther Main Street
116 S Main
Luther, OK  73054
View map »


Sponsor: Luther Register
Telephone: 405-888-9946
Contact Name: Dawn Shelton
Website »

More information

Santa’s Wonderland is the ultimate free family Christmas event returning to Cabela’s this holiday season. Oklahoma City-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cabela's
1200 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK  73114
View map »


Sponsor: Cabela's
Telephone: (405) 546-3500
Website »

More information

SNACKS. FELLOWSHIP. COFFEE.  The Gathering is a social opportunity for members, volunteers, and those interested in VillagesOKC.  We will talk VillagesOKC, what's new, whats...

Cost: 0

Where:
Higher Grounds Coffee
5814 NW 63rd Street
Warr Acres , OK  73122
View map »


Sponsor: VillagesOKC
Telephone: 405-990-6637
Contact Name: VillagesOKC
Website »

More information

We're poppin' champagne on the patio this Saturday and raffling off a bottle of Perrier-Jouet valued at $300! Come pre-party with us and DJ Catherine Ouellette from 6pm-10pm -...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown Hotel
1, N Broadway Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »

More information

America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

The 9th annual “A Perfect Finish” will feature a night of wine & beer tasting, an auction, food and fun benefiting the OKC RIVERSPORT Junior Crew.   The proceeds from this...

Cost: $75.00

Where:
McClendon Whitewater Center
800 RIVERSPORT Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
View map »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
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