Collinsville, Oklahoma
April 4, 2013
Teachers Of The Year
Teachers Nominated At Each Collinsville School Campus
Wilson Elementary's Mitzi Vogel Is District Winner
Previous Coverage

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Copyright 2013 -- Collinsville, Oklahoma
Here are the finalists for Teacher of the Year from the five school sites. From the left, they are, Bobby Sparks, Collinsville High School; Natalie Bird from Collinsville Middle School; Mitzi Vogel, Wilson Elementary, Winner, Teacher of the Year; Jade Finney, Early Childhood Center and Terry Coburn, Herald Elementary. -- Bill Johnston 4/4/2013
Jade Finney -- Early Childhood Center

I grew up in Bartlesville and graduated from Copan High school. I attended Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Science with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. I have had the privilege of teaching Kindergarten in Collinsville for 7 years, and have been blessed to work at a school that is filled with enthusiastic students, caring parents, talented teachers and supportive administration. I absolutely love teaching children. Their excitement for learning and enthusiasm for life is infections! I am constantly learning with and from my students. It is such an adventure... I couldn't imagine doing anything else!

I have been married to my wonderful husband, Kevin, for 8 years. We have a sweet little girl, Karsyn, and are expecting our second in late August.

Natalie Bird -- Middle School

Natalie Bird graduated from Sweet Home High School in Sweet Home, Oregon and completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Education at Brigham Young University. She coached volleyball and track and taught High School Biology, Health, and Physical Education at Carl Junction High School in Missouri for three years and an additional year teaching Physical Science, Space Technology, and Earth Science at her own junior high school back in Oregon. Natalie was able to spend several years with her four children before returning to teaching full time last year at Collinsville Middle School, teaching Earth Science and U.S. History.

Natalie has been married to David Bird for twenty years and has resided in the Collinsville School District for almost seven years. Some of her other accomplishments are being a Firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service, a missionary in Korea for 18 months, active in triathlon - completing the Red Man Iron Man, and is currently in her 7th year as a YMCA Fitness Instructor.

Previous Coverage: Feb. 2013 Science Lab Fun
Mitzi Vogel -- Wilson Elementary

I am a graduate of Oklahoma State University. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Family Relations and Child Development with Early Childhood Certification in 1991. I started my teaching career at Wilson Elementary in 1991 as a third grade teacher. I was lucky to have Kathy Pricket as my mentor teacher helping me navigate through all the adventures of that first year. I have taught 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades in Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia. This is my 18th year of teaching. My husband’s 23 year career in the Navy has taken us to many places but we are very happy to be home in Oklahoma.

My husband, Rick, and I have been married 19 years. We have two wonderful children. Our son Cannon is a sophomore at CHS and our daughter Sydney is in the 8th grade at CMS.

I feel so honored to be recognized by my peers. I work with the best team of teachers. It is wonderful working with a group of top notch educators. Just being with them makes me strive to be better every day.

One of the hallmarks of public education is that we welcome every child into our schools and make their achievement our highest priority. Regardless of difficulties, I see teachers every day working with families to help children realize their fullest potential so that they may enjoy productive and successful lives.

I know that the children who walk through my door today are the designers of the future. I am humbled by the trust that their parents place in me. I work daily to ensure that my students learn not only the foundations of reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also the importance and promise their education holds for the future. I am honored to represent Wilson Elementary as their teacher of the year.

Previous Coverage: 2007-08 Teacher of the Year

Terry Coburn -- Herald Elementary

I graduated from Owasso High School in 1985 and I have lived in Owasso 34 years. I had a life-threatening incident later in life and decided I would go back to college and earn a degree in a life long dream … teaching! In December 2006, I graduated from Northeastern State University with a degree in Early Childhood. I was very fortunate to intern at Wilson Elementary with two amazing teachers; Mrs. Keeli Bowers and Mrs. Jeanna Lowder that taught me so much. In 2007, I began my teaching career here at Herald Elementary, my first year was in 5th grade and then the next year I moved to 3rd grade and have taught 3rd grade ever since. I love working with my 3rd grade team.

My husband Daniel and I have two wonderful boys, Alex 22 and Austin 17. We all love to go to the lake and enjoy watching OU football. Boomer Sooners!

I am very blessed to be able to work with such incredible people here at Herald Elementary!

Robert Sparks -- High School

Robert Sparks grew up in Owasso and attended Owasso Public Schools through 1998. However, he spent his last two years of high school at Catoosa where he graduated in the year 2000. He attended Oklahoma State University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics along with a Minor in Statistics in 2005. Upon graduation from OSU, he began working for Collinsville High School as a Math Teacher along with coaching 9th grade football and high school tennis. In 2006, Mr. Sparks married his wife, Michelle, who also teaches math and coaches for Collinsville. In 2011, Mr. Sparks took over duties as Head of the Math Department. Mr. Sparks also teaches AP Calculus and Physics. In 2012, he completed his Master's Degree in Math Education from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Photo By Bill Johnston
Thank you to Bill Johnston for supplying the photo above. I was in Tulsa at the CHS OneOK baseball game Thursday evening. Also thank you to Michelle Borthick for suplying the teacher bios. -- Ted Wright