Plato Elementary Educator Honored

Abby Leonard with Duncan Public Schools is the winner of the 2022 Kathy Cox Elementary Educator Merit Award, presented by the Professional Oklahoma Educators Foundation.

The Plato Elementary first grade teacher was one of 36 educators, support professionals and administrators honored as finalists for the Excellence in Education Merit and Character Awards by the POE Foundation.

The Excellence in Education Awards Banquet recognizes and rewards Oklahoma educators who demonstrate a commitment to their students in teaching strength of character and excellence in the school or classroom. Award nominees must go through a rigorous application and evaluation process.

According to POE Foundation Executive Director Ginger Tinney, “These awards serve as an encouragement to not only Oklahoma educators, but also to the many businesses, organizations, and communities that have a stake in the character building and intellectual development of the children who will shape our state in the future.”

The Kathy Cox Elementary Educator Merit Award is named in honor of the late Mrs. Kathy Cox, an outstanding 20-year veteran educator. Cox was a charter member of Professional Oklahoma Educators and served as the Plainview Schools POE leader. Cox was an outstanding dynamic elementary teacher.

As a Merit Award winner, Mrs. Leonard received a check for $500, a free POE membership and a commendation from Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell.

“Mrs. Leonard is a tireless worker, one of the most unselfish individuals I have come across both in the school system and more importantly in everyday life,” said Charmin Holland who has worked with Leonard in the same district for eight years. “She exudes confidence that transcends into a ‘can do’ mentality that encourages the most challenging student or situation.”

According to Brandy Peters, principal at Plato Elementary, “Mrs. Leonard believes in challenging her students. She enables her students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. She meets challenges head-on. She has amazing classroom management and works hard to build lasting relationships with every student.”

Mrs. Leonard earned her Bachelor of Science degree in education from the University of Oklahoma and her Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Cameron University.

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