Tulsa Public Schools strives to create an environment for teachers to develop, grow, and ultimately retire. McKinley Elementary School's Annette Maple has been teaching in Tulsa Public Schools for 38 years - 36 of those at McKinley.
Annette moved to Tulsa when she was 3 years old. She went to Penn Elementary, Monroe Demonstration Academy, and graduated from McLain High School. She received a scholarship to Tulsa University and went there for her freshman year.
Her dream, however, was to go to Oklahoma State University, where her father attended. Annette transferred there and received a bachelor's degree in early education. She then worked to get her masters in curriculum and instruction.
After college, Annette started her journey with Tulsa Public Schools, where her mother also taught. It's a journey she has loved every day.
"The parents and students are dedicated to learning. I became attached to the children in this neighborhood," she said. "I always felt like this is where I'm supposed to be."
Annette spent her teaching career between pre-K and kindergarten and has taught three generations of students! This year was her first time to teach a grandchild of one of her former students. Spending time with her students, new and old, is something Annette is going to miss.
"It's always about the kids! [I'm going to miss] those hugs every day. They are my babies. Lots of kids need extra love and structure. Making them feel safe and loved is so important and helps the students to experience and learn," she said.
While Annette might be retiring, her knowledge and attitude will be reflected in other teachers. Tulsa Public Schools has a Novice Teacher Program that gives new teachers a chance to work closely with veterans; Annette has mentored three teachers through this program and shared a lot of helpful advice.
"Things you aren't sure about, ask. There are lots of knowledgeable people and resources in a school building. Take advantage of the personal development offered that you believe will benefit you and your students," she said. "Make sure you enjoy what you do. Have your heart into it. That'll take you so much further."
Upon retiring, Annette plans to spend time with her parents and her grandchildren.
Thank you for 38 years of amazing service, Mrs. Maple! Enjoy your well-earned retirement.
You can learn more about our Novice Teacher Program here.