By Mindy Ragan Wood
Yukon’s new teachers poured in from across the state and as far as Ireland to a warm welcome at the Yukon Chamber of Commerce new teacher luncheon Thursday.
More than 120 educators, support staff and administrators were hired for the 2018-2019 school year.
Shedeck Elementary Principal Diedre Bradley was recruited last year and introduced her newest staff to the audience.
“One of the main reasons I wanted to go first was to welcome you and tell you that you have joined, and you can’t get out of it now because you’ve already signed the contract,” she joked. “But this is an amazing family, not community but family. I just completed my first rookie year and the only reason I was able to be successful is this group of administrators that I have right here. They are awesome. Every time I call, they called and checked on me. I want to tell you thanks and that I hope you have an awesome year,” she said.
Bradley joked that the hiring process was so competitive, she felt like she was being drafted by the NFL.
“When it comes time to recruit, it’s cutthroat,” she said.
New recruits were impressed by the welcome they received at the luncheon. They were escorted to the luncheon on the cushy sports buses, cheered on by Yukon cheerleaders. They enjoyed a catered lunch by Primo’s and happily accepted a bag full of supplies and swag from local businesses.
“I was very surprised by this,” said Talitha Osgood, a new speech pathologist at Skyview Elementary. “The welcome is amazing and I just feel happiness.”
Ben Dooley will teach 5th grade math and science at Independence Elementary and was hired from Del City.
“It’s a beautiful opportunity. I already feel like I’m part of the family. Everyone is so willing to help and has kind words,” he said.
A new psychologist from Mid-Del will join Yukon High School.
“I’m very excited,” Natalie Miller said. “Yukon is a district that is progressing forward and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues in special education.”
Rhonda Simonson will teach kindergarten at Surrey Hills Elementary. The growing school had at least a dozen new hires.
“I live here and my daughter goes to school here at the high school. I have just found that this community is so warm and welcoming and I’ve been amazed at how welcoming everyone is for the school district. As a parent, it’s an amazing district so I was excited about being a teacher here. I don’t feel so homesick. I come from Altus and it was just so easy to become part of the community,” she said.
Some new teachers came to the district much further away than Altus. Assistant Superintendent Jason Brunk reported that teachers have come from Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, and overseas from Ireland and Japan.
Sarah Moore is from Ireland and will teach kindergarten at Surrey Hills and coach track for the high school.
“I came over here in 2013 for college at Oklahoma City University,” she said. “I’m very excited.”