Celebrating BP Teachers of Excellence #golden


“This year’s nominees were again, an excellent representation of our staff as a whole,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “They are humble, hard-working and student-centered. I was particularly impressed with how all of the finalists have gone the extra mile for their students and make sure every student they work with know that they are loved. Mrs. Hopkins truly exemplifies what we expect from all of our teachers. She holds high expectations for all of her students, helps every student meet those expectations, makes sure parents are engaged, and truly cares about the individual student beyond academics. She is a gem who has positively impacted hundreds of children in her career and this award is very well deserved!”

Darilynn Caston – Redoubt Elementary School

“To view the world from the eyes of a child is a beautiful gift. These children inspire me to be a better version of myself every day.  I am both honored and grateful to be entrusted in the nurturing of this beginning part of their journey of life’s discoveries.”

Sharon Hopkins – Tustumena Elementary School

“I am inspired by the children in my classroom. When first graders become confident readers it changes them. Every year I’m rewarded with this process when each student blossoms into a reader. Plus, I’m always appreciative that I’m a teacher at Tustumena Elementary as I work with a talented, inspiring staff that does whatever it takes to educate and enrich the lives of our children.”

James Knoebel – Soldotna High School

“Every day I am inspired by the students I work with. Their persistence, resilience, and steadfastness to overcome barriers push me to be a better educator and person. I am appreciative of my team members at SoHi that support me as I promote inclusive and dynamic learning environments. I love what I do, and look forward to continuing to foster an atmosphere within our school that promotes self-determination and an appreciation for the whole person.”

Nickole Lyon – Seward Elementary School

“None of us get good at what we do without a little help. I work with some of the most dedicated families and professionals I know on a daily basis. I am so thankful to live and teach in a community that is as passionate about teaching the whole child as I am. Thank you for your support and encouragement to grow into the teacher I am today.”

Patti Truesdell – Hope School

“I believe I was inspired to teach by having had good teachers when I was in public school as a child. I was the kind of child that teachers liked. I was quiet and bookish. My parents divorced when I was in sixth grade, and that was the year we had Mr. Holte. He made sixth grade so much fun! The weird thing I remember is that he had these big, heavy braces on his legs, and he walked really stooped over. He wore those old man pants with the big creases in them. But we did not care about his braces or his pants or his limp. He made every day so much fun. … Everyone once in a while, I just marvel at how much fun I have each and every day in a classroom and I think, “Wow! … This teaching is so much fun

Sharon Hopkins, 2016 Kenai BP Teacher of the Year

To introduce the 2016 Kenai BP Teacher of the Year, Stan Bennion, Vice-President of Human Resources, BP Alaska, said, “This teacher sets expectations for her students and inspires those kids to rise to meet them.

The principal said, “Nobody leaves that classroom without being a reader, regardless of their ability level when they start.” This teacher is dedicated to preparing kids not only for their future education, but for their whole lives. The ability to read well is fuel to all other learning. The teacher achieves such great results by getting to know the kids well, what their abilities are, where they’re coming from, what they bring to the class. This teacher is more than part of the school, they’re part of the community, engaging parents in the education of their children. Some of this teacher’s students are the children of former students. That’s a powerful, long-term effect on a community. This teacher is beloved.

But it’s more than just personality-this teacher is uniquely capable of motivating young students.

The principal says, “We have the floor, which is our state standards all students have to get to. But this teacher’s target is way above that.” This teacher knows the kids so well, lessons specifically match learning to the child’s skill level and interests. The result is they’re thirsty to learn. This teacher routinely goes beyond what is required or even what is expected and educates with the goal of helping every child find a path to success. Finding that path is the very reason we have teachers.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I introduce the 2016 BP Teacher of the Year from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Sharon Hopkins.”

Elementary school teacher Sharon Hopkins is the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District BP Teacher of the Year and the winner of a $1,500 continuing education grant. Hopkins teaches first grade at Tustumena Elementary School in Kasilof, Alaska. A teacher for 23 years in the district, she has taught generations of families. Hopkins says enthusiasm is her most inspiring strength, allowing her students use their sense of wonder to achieve success.  She is known for setting clear expectations and modeling kindness to her students. She also mentors new teachers and volunteers with her school’s parent teacher organization.
The BP Teachers of Excellence program recognized 32 Alaska teachers in 2016, for their exceptional performance in the classroom, dedication to students and contribution to the state’s future. Since the program’s inception in 1995, BP has recognized 680 teachers for their dedication to teaching and inspiring students. This year, the program attracted more than 1,000 nominations.


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