ARDMORE, OK - As the school year draws to a close, one Ardmore educator is being recognized for her hard work by the Association for Career and Technical Education.
Cindy Adams has been a teacher for 16 years, the last 11 of which she's spent at the Southern Oklahoma Technology Center as a medical office instructor.
Now Adams is being recognized as the OACT's Teacher of the Year out of six southern states and will go on to compete for the national teacher of the year.
Cindy Adams says in her past 11 years at SOTC, she's been instrumental in creating the Career Technology Academy at Ardmore High School and the Medical Office Assistant Program at SOTC.
"We saw that there was an increased demand in the health careers area and more of a need to train students to work in the front offices working in hospitals and doctor's offices," Adams says.
Both programs give students the opportunity to train for a real world profession and receive college credit at the same time through a partnership with Murray State College.
"The college credit that they can earn while garnering through Murray State and the alliance we have with them is exciting, and we would like to see that continue in to more of our programs," Adams says.
Adams says students also get hands-on experience through community service projects in the medical field, which makes it easier for them to get internships and jobs after their courses. High school junior Joshua Hagenbart says Adams' attention to her students has helped further his interest in the medical office profession.
"When you don't understand things, she helps you through it, and she makes sure you understand it, and she makes you interested in the topics that you study," Hagenbart says.
Adams says while it is nice to be recognized as the teacher of the year on the district, state, and regional level this year, she prefers to measure her accomplishments by the success of her students.
"My students are successful and that's how I determine my success, is to look at where are they now and if they can make it to where they intended to be or maybe even further, then my job is complete."
Adams will attend the national conference in St. Louis, Missouri, in November where the National Teacher of the Year will be announced.