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Grove Teacher of the Year

John Watkins, third grade

Grove Elementary - John Watkins, third grade

John Watkins, who teaches third grade, was named the 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year at Grove Elementary School.

“I started teaching at Briarglen Elementary (now closed) in 2011, but I have been working for Union Public Schools since 2005,” Watkins said. “I first began working for Union Public Schools at Darnaby as Extended Day Program assistant supervisor.  Working for Union helped me afford going to college and what better place to prepare to be a teacher than working in a school. In 2013, I joined the staff over here at Grove where I found a staff you could call your family and a school you could call home.”

Watkins said, “I continue to work as a teacher in Oklahoma because this is where home is. This is where my family belongs, and this is where I feel I am meant to be. I feel called to be a positive force for good in this state and in this district.”

Plus, he loves math!

“I have so much fun working with our math manipulatives, using our base 10 blocks to model subtraction with regrouping,” Watkins said. “This challenging task allows students to visually see why regrouping a number to subtract is so important. They get to have something tangible in their hands or digitally on their devices. It’s so fun to see math problems come to life rather than just numbers on a page. When you see students finally have that lightbulb moment and everything clicks makes this completely worth it!”

Watkins also noted, “I am a Union Lifer! I started my elementary school journey as a Bobcat from Boevers, an Eagle from Grove, and finished out my elementary school days as a Challenger from McAuliffe. I graduated from Union High School in 2004. Just after high school I attended Southwestern Assemblies of God University, Tulsa Community College, and Northeastern State University.”

He received his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Northeastern State University in December of 2010.

“I am currently seeking a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University in Educational Administration. I am on schedule to graduate in the spring of 2023,” he said. “My certifications are to teach elementary education and English as a second language.”

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Union Public Schools
8506 E. 61st Street
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133
Phone: 918-357-4321