Educator commends colleagues for meeting pandemic challenges
By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Ralph Humphrey doesn’t take his role as an educator lightly.
The responsibilities and demands of the profession have grown in the past year as the coronavirus pandemic continues. And the retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. is happy to meet those demands as a math teacher at Carl Albert High School.
That attitude and ability to connect with students helped earn him a spot on stage last week as a finalist in the 2020-21 Mid-Del School District Teacher of the Year celebration.
Humphrey was honored to be in the same room with many of the top teachers. And he was floored when his name was announced as the winner.
“Just with this group of finalists and everyone in the room, I didn’t even think about it at all,” Humphrey said. “My stomach is on the floor right now. It’s such an honor.”
Humphrey was selected among five finalists. The others included: Erin Campbell of Schwartz Elementary, Katie Coullandreau of Del City Elementary, Stephanie Skidmore of Carl Albert Middle School, and Rashid Troupe of Del City High School.
The Teacher of the Year celebration was held at the newly renovated Midwest City High School Performing Arts Center on Feb. 22.
Superintendent Rick Cobb and Cordell Ehrich, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, individually recognized the site teachers of the year as well as the five finalists.
Following the individual recognitions, Stephanie Terry, a Del City High School and 2019-20 Mid-Del Teacher of the Year, introduced Humphrey as the next teacher of the year.
Humphrey expressed gratitude for the honor and commended his fellow teachers for meeting the challenges of the past year.
“Look out at all you teachers doing powerful work and none more powerful than this year,” he said. “Superintendent Dr. Cobb said we’re going back to school in the classroom and all of us showed up. Then parents sent us their most important person. And they trusted us with them.”
Humphrey started teaching following a distinguished 30-year-career in the U.S. Air Force.
He is in his ninth year as a teacher at Carl Albert High School. He started as an Air Force Junior ROTC instructor. After four years, he moved to the classroom to teach math.
All 22 school sites select a teacher of the year nominee in the fall. The five finalists and winner are selected by the district’s professional development committee, which includes teachers, faculty and administrators from across the district, as well as one parent.
As the Mid-Del Teacher of the Year, Humphrey receives a prize pack with gifts from local businesses. The highlight is a free car for a year from Hudiburg Auto Group.
Humphrey will also compete for the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year honor.