Year Honored: 2012Highland Park Elementary School and;Will Rogers Elementary School
At the time of the Award, Tammera Mittelstet was:Specialist
Highland Park Elementary School and;Will Rogers Elementary School
Subject(s) taught: Gifted
Grade(s): Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Although gifted teacher Tammera Mittelstet splits her time between two Stillwater elementary schools—Highland Park and Will Rogers in Stillwater, Oklahoma—she knows every person in both buildings. Mittelstet may be most well-known for breathing new life into the gifted program. She created the Flex Schedule, an initiative approved by the district that allows her to teach a gifted class activity to regular classrooms one day a week. The new program exposes more students to higher-level learning, identifies more gifted students and brings together students, teachers, administrators and parents.
As for her own instruction, Mittelstet grounds her methods in real-world experiences. She incorporates news coverage of current events and creates hands-on activities for lessons on the environment. Students learn about artists through picture books and literature. They work together in collaborative, cross-grade groups to develop their own knowledge, research skills and learning. Believing that healthy social and emotional skills are critical to a well-rounded educational experience, Mittelstet encourages her students to participate in community service projects. They come to class motivated and ready to learn, and are well-prepared for later grades.
Mittelstet leads the district professional development committee, helped develop the professional development handbook and brought the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board curriculum and workshops to the district. A mentor teacher and guest speaker at Oklahoma State University, she is a member of the district gifted and talented committee and worked to obtain resources for the art program. Mittelstet even spent time as a non-paid administrative intern to learn about the central office. She assisted with the extended-year special education program and sits on the local museum's advisory committee.