The State Senate has honored an Oklahoma physical science teacher for being one of only five educators nationwide to be inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. Deborah Cornelison, a ninth-grade physical science teacher at Byng Junior High School, was a guest in the Senate chamber on Thursday when members honored her accomplishments with the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 30, by Sen. Susan Paddack and Rep. Todd Thomsen.
Cornelison has been teaching physics and chemistry since 1988. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology, a master’s degree in education, and is also nationally-certified in adolescent and young adulthood science. She’s won numerous awards throughout her career, including the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association Teacher of the Year, the Oklahoma Science and Engineering Fair Hall of Fame, Byng Teacher of the Year and has been a finalist for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. Cornelison also serves as the grant writer and director for the Mathematics and Science partnership program to help prepare more educators to teach science in the classroom. Paddack said Deborah’s experience and dedication represent the qualities of a National Hall of Fame educator.
“There is a push here in Oklahoma and across the nation to improve our students’ math and science scores in order to remain competitive globally. Having someone with Deborah’s qualifications means her students are going to have the quality instruction they need for success,” said Paddack, D-Ada. “But she’s also mentoring other teachers so they can teach math and science curriculum. This is exactly the kind of dedication we need to help make sure Oklahoma’s children master the science and math skills necessary to move our state forward.”
Thomsen also praised the Byng educator’s efforts to improve and expand math and science education.
“Deborah’s passion for teaching has driven her to go above and beyond what was expected or required. She’s making a positive difference in the lives of her students and her fellow teachers,” said Thomsen, R-Ada. “In sharing her enthusiasm for science, she’s inspired students to pursue careers in medicine, engineering and even education. Her induction into the National Teachers Hall of Fame is a positive reflection on her work and on professional educators throughout Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma Education Association President Linda Hampton called Cornelison an incredible teacher.
“She is highly praised by her colleagues and students. I have known her for over twenty years and have found her to be an exemplary teacher,” said Hampton. “She is very deserving of being selected as one of five in the nation to be inducted to the National Teachers Hall of Fame.”
Cornelison said she was honored to be at the Capitol, and by her induction into the National Teacher’s Hall of Fame.
“I’ve worked hard for a lot of years, but… my message is that I am only representative of thousands of teachers in Oklahoma that are so deserving,” Cornelison said. “We appreciate your support of education—it’s our life work and I thank you again for this honor.”