Peter Markes grew up the son of a teacher and a farmer, learning two important lessons: patience and faith. Markes uses those lessons every day as the orchestra director at Edmond North High School, where he says he seeks to create beautiful music and help his students become beautiful people.
On Tuesday, Markes was honored for his incredible skill and talent as an educator when he was named the 2013-2014 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.
“The language and tasks of music are all just vehicles toward helping students develop beautiful hearts,” he wrote in his portfolio submission for the competition. “When our students graduate, they will become spouses, co-workers, community leaders, teachers, and most importantly, parents. To do these things well, they must be kind, loving, patient and gentle.”
Markes has found a recipe for success. In his 11 years at Edmond North, he's more than doubled the number of students in the orchestra program. He also teaches advanced placement music theory and performs as a professional musician.
In addition to honoring district teachers of the year from across the state, the 12 state finalists and an overall winner, the annual Oklahoma Teacher of the Year event is an opportunity to celebrate the teaching profession and its importance to the state and the students of Oklahoma.
We congratulate Markes and the other finalists: Barbara Bayless, Choctaw-Nicoma Park; Frank Cooper, Sand Springs; Jentri Guinn, Porter; Betina Jones-Parra, Noble; Tera Landrum, Broken Arrow; Dana Moore, Lawton; Therese Rawlinson, Bartlesville; Mara Richards, Durant; Susan Rindal, Vanoss; Chelsea Roberts, Woodward; and Eddie Lou Strimple, Enid.
While the politics of education are often in the news, we're thankful for the reminder that in classrooms across the state, teachers such as Markes and the other finalists are making it their life's work to invest in the lives of students with the goal of developing minds and hearts. They all deserve our sincere thanks.