Summer Proffer, an art teacher at Grove Public Schools, is the 2022 winner of the Teacher Character Award, presented by the Professional Oklahoma Educators (POE) Foundation.
Mrs. Proffer was one of 36 educators, support professionals and administrators who were honored as finalists for the Excellence in Education Merit and Character Awards by the POE Foundation at its annual banquet in April.
As the winner of the Teacher Character Award, the highest honor presented annually by the POE Foundation, Mrs. Proffer received $1,500 from the foundation and commendation from Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell. Additionally, she receives a free Professional Oklahoma Educators membership for a year.
The POE Foundation looks for how extensive and how creatively character is taught in every aspect from direct teaching, to decorations, to public recognition of students for their outstanding character.
“Mrs. Proffer incorporates character through her dialog with the students, encouraging them to function as respectful citizens in both the academic setting and in their own personal lives,” said Russell Carmichael, principal at Grove Elementary. “Whenever a student makes a misjudgment in their actions Mrs. Proffer seizes the opportunity to discuss the student’s behavior choice with them, leading them to understand more appropriate choices to make in the future.”
According to fellow first grade teacher Jennifer Wynn, Proffer regularly demonstrates the character traits of enthusiasm, resourcefulness, and creativity. She uses children’s books like “Leo the Late Bloomer,” “Chrysanthemum,” and “The Tortoise and the Hare” to have teachable moments with character lessons while teaching art standards for each grade level.
“Mrs. Proffer is resourceful, which is a fine trait in an artist and art teacher. She is able to create lessons using the items the community donates to the art program and curates the art her students make to share with others,” Wynn said. “She shows her creativity through the warm environment she makes in the classroom for her students and through the creative way she shares her passion of art through her teaching.”
The Teacher Character Award was sponsored by Kimray, Inc.