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Amarillo English teacher honored at the White House today


The National Teacher of the Year is an educator from Palo Duro High in Amarillo.  Shanna Peeples is the first Texas teacher to win the award since 1957. 

Peeples works in an environment where 85 percent of students live below the poverty line and where more refugee children are enrolled than in any high school in the district reports the Amarillo Globe News.

She was selected for the honor by the Council of Chief State School Officers.  And, will be recognized by President Barack Obama today.

Peeples says her own childhood had alcoholism and domestic violence.  That gives her empathy for students from war-torn countries like Burma, Somalia, Ethiopia, Iraq, and Cuba.  She says that’s what helped her as a teacher probably more than anything, that she has a connection with her students.

Peeples says you can’t really learn when you’re scared.

The 50 year old is a mother to three grown children.  Before choosing education, she worked as a disc jockey, medical assistant, pet sitter, and journalist.