Peter Markes always knew he wanted to teach. But it wasn't until he started making money playing the guitar in high school that Oklahoma's 2014 Teacher of the Year figured out he could combine the two.
“I didn't realize I could teach music,” Markes said Tuesday after he was named the state's top public school teacher. “I had an orchestra teacher. I had a band director. It didn't occur to me that I could become them.”
The Waukomis native teaches string orchestra and Advanced Placement music theory at Edmond North High School, which boasts the largest orchestra in the state with 150 performers.
Markes, an accomplished violinist who played two seasons with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and still plays professionally, was selected from 12 finalists for the honor at a ceremony sponsored by the state Education Department.
“It is incredibly humbling to be recognized by a jury of our peers for this honor,” Markes, 34, of Oklahoma City, told approximately 500 people during a ceremony at the Oklahoma State Fair.
Markes succeeds 2013 winner Elaine Hutchison and will spend a year away from the classroom traveling the state speaking to fellow teachers and those studying to be teachers. He will represent Oklahoma in the National Teacher of the Year competition in April.
“It's an incredible responsibility,” he said. “I wouldn't have tried to get this far if I didn't think I could do some incredible positive good for education in the state of Oklahoma.”
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