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SPS names District Teacher of the Year

SPS names District Teacher of the Year
Palmatary receives honor during Celebration of Teaching

(Stillwater, Oklahoma, April 25, 2024) Stillwater Public Schools is proud to announce its District Teacher of the Year -  Stillwater Junior High School STEM and Computer Science Teacher Rebecca Palmatary. 

A Marlow High School and Oklahoma State University graduate, she began her college studies in Chemical Engineering, but changed her major following a pivotal internship during which she found her calling “not in manipulating substances in a lab” but in pursuing her “passion of helping others.” 

Palmatary taught 1st grade in Liberal, Kansas before joining Stillwater Public Schools to continue her teaching career in 2006. She’s experienced a wide range of educational roles and opportunities at SPS – a formative student teaching experience under the mentorship of the Mrs. Fox at Westwood, time teaching Pre-K, a decade teaching fourth grade, and five years of Gifted Education, culminating in her current role of teaching STEM and Computer Science at Stillwater Junior High where she has been since 2022.

Palmatary also impacts students outside of her classroom responsibilities. She teaches at Meridian Technology Center during their Technovation Days and serves as both a Computer Science instructor for first-generation college-bound high school students and a kids coding camp instructor at OSU. She takes great pride in being one of  the creators of the annual Indian Education Summer STEM camp, which provides unique learning experiences for students.  She has also worked to offer extracurricular opportunities for students, including after school technology classes, and coaching in various capacities. Currently, she serves as the coach for the Stillwater Junior High Cheer Squad, and oversees five Junior High Robotics teams, and two High School Robotics teams.

SJHS Principal Crystal Szymanski says, “I can’t say enough about the positive impact Mrs. Palmatary provides our students. Her connection in the classroom and beyond makes her a true life changer for our kids. Her student-centered, student-first approach makes a huge difference in the culture of our building.”

SPS announced the Teacher of the Year during a districtwide virtual ceremony honoring all school site teachers and of the year on April 24. All Teachers of the year received prize packages provided through the generosity of 43 local businesses. At the online ceremony, Superintendent Uwe Gordon and a team of administrators arrived to deliver the news and prizes in person. 

“Congratulations to Rebecca!” says Gordon. “Saying she goes above and beyond doesn’t even come close to describing her dedication to her students. The long list of the many roles she fills for our district makes me marvel at how she not only does them all, but does them all so well. We couldn’t be prouder!”

After accepting the additional prizes Gordon carried in, Palmatary was escorted outside where she received a new Chevrolet Equinox, provided by the Wilson Auto Family. The auto seller is covering the cost of the lease and insurance for two years for the Teacher of the Year. 

“I am deeply humbled to be recognized as the District Teacher of the Year among such an incredible group of educators at Stillwater Public Schools,” says Palmatary. “It's an honor to represent our dedicated community of teachers and students.” 

The educator will go on to compete with teachers from across the state for the title of Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

“I am thrilled to continue my journey, representing Stillwater with pride at the state level. I am committed to upholding the standards of excellence that our community values, and I look forward to making Stillwater proud.”

Palmatary wants to make sure hard working teachers get the credit they deserve. “Lastly, a big shout out to all educators across our district for their incredible dedication and the amazing work they are doing in their classrooms every day. Each one of us deserves to be recognized for our hard work, passion, and commitment to shaping the minds of the future.”


Retiring Teachers 

  • Robin Atkinson - Skyline Elementary 

  • Debra Shores - Stillwater High School 

  • Jennifer White - Stillwater High School 

  • Michael White - Stillwater High School 

  • Kim Sloggett - Will Rogers Elementary 

  • Dana Edwards - Westwood Elementary


Other Site Teachers of the Year

  • Leah Silver - Highland Park Elementary

  • Shandi Treat - Lincoln Alternative Academy 

  • Grace Anne Fath - Richmond Elementary

  • Mary Beth Talley - Sangre Ridge Elementary - Finalist

  • Jennifer Crosthwait -  Skyline Elementary 

  • Elizabeth Ziegler - Stillwater High School 

  • Tracy Bell - Stillwater Middle School

  • Jenny Bobo - Stillwater Pioneer Virtual Academy - Finalist

  • Angie Edwards - Westwood Elementary

  • Anthony Martin - Will Rogers Elementary




Barry Fuxa
[email protected]