Brannum Among Finalists for National Math and Science Award

Cheryl Brannum, CV Tech instructor

September 29, 2017

YUKON – Math is not a gift, contends Cheryl Brannum. It can be learned, and students can have fun in the process.

Her philosophical approach to the math classroom helped Brannum, 51, of Yukon, become one of four state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

She teaches geometry, Algebra 2, pre-AP calculus and AP statistics at Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Cowan Campus.

Brannum said her intent is for the math classroom to be a place of energy and enthusiasm, with an emphasis on the process of discovery.

“I got into education, because I wanted to show kids they can be independent and take care of their own lives,” she said. “I hope to empower them to become what they want to become.”

Math is a step on the ladder of success, she admits.

“It’s not unlike breaking down the engine of a car,” she said. “You need to know each piece has a job to do.”

Projects and group activities are a regular part of Brannum’s teaching style.

The Oklahoma Department of Education announced the finalists for secondary teaching this week. Awards alternate each year between elementary and secondary teachers.

The award was established in 1983 and is the highest recognition a K-12 mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.

This year’s finalists also include Megan Cannon, of Sapulpa, Julie Klingensmith, of Norman, and Telannia Norfar, of Oklahoma City.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister praised the finalists for their exceptional work raising student outcomes in math and science.

Two winners are chosen from every state. That occurs in January. Brannum said she appreciates the recognition just to get to this point.

Brannum is in her 25th year as an educator and 10th at CV Tech. She grew up in Enid.

“To me, this recognition is like the icing on the cake in my teaching career,” she said. “I’ve been at it a long time.”

CV Tech Superintendent Dr. Greg Winters said Brannum is representative of the very best at Canadian Valley.

“I assure you it is no accident she is a state finalist for this award,” Winters said. “We are very proud of her.”

During the application process, finalists were required to submit a 45-minute videotaped lesson plan and a written reflection on their personal teaching methodology, engagement with students and how professional development has affected their classroom instruction.

Hofmeister commended the finalists’ dedication to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction in Oklahoma.

“By sharing their passion and expertise in STEM with students across the state, these educators are equipping Oklahoma’s schoolchildren for a successful future.”

The national recipients represent all 50 states and U.S. territories. Award winners will receive a paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and a certificate signed by the President of the United States.