An Oklahoma Wesleyan University alum recently won a prestigious teaching award.

Rachel Hammon, a 2008 OKWU graduate, was named Teacher of the Year for Creekwood Elementary School in Broken Arrow, Okla.

Hammon, who has been working at Creekwood for three years, was chosen by her peers for the prestigious title of Teacher of the Year. Dr. Jarod Mendenhall, the superintendent of Broken Arrow Public Schools, described the award winners as “teachers who display qualities of leadership and innovation.” Across the Broken Arrow Public Schools, 27 teachers are chosen on an annual basis.

“To me, the real blessing of being a student at OKWU was that everything was taught through the lens of Christ,” Hammon said. “Whether I was learning about the intricacies of music or how to effectively manage a classroom—all of these things were taught from the perspective of Jesus Christ as Creator and Sustainer.”

As an educator Hammon is faced with difficult tasks on a daily basis. Although the education field can be challenging at times, she finds herself excited to teach her students music every day.

“Sometimes it’s very tiring, demanding, or even frustrating, but more often it is truly rewarding. God has blessed me with many great students and we have a lot of fun learning about music,” Hammon explained. “I became a music teacher because I wanted to share my knowledge of one of the things in the world that I love most. I also became a music teacher because of the influence of many excellent music teachers in my past.”

As a tribute to all the music teachers she has looked up to as a young musician, Hammon strives to make the same impact on her own students.

“The best part of my job is getting to be a positive influence in students’ lives. I love teaching my students about music, and I am excited when they truly begin to understand concepts and they make connections in what we are learning,” Hammon said. “When they get excited about something in real-life that connects to what we are doing in the classroom, or are proud of a great performance they did, or when they have fun playing the instruments, or if they are intrigued by the lives of the great composers in history, my cup overflows!”

Outside of work Hammon continues to do what she loves the most—play music. Performing in school productions, local concerts and even in international music festivals, she embodies a woman who loves her craft. Currently Hammon is a member of the International Clarinet Association, the National Association for Music Educators and the state branch of OMEA.

Graduating summa cum laude, Hammon earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Science in Music Education K-12. Following graduation from OKWU, she obtained her Master of Music degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During her time at UNL Hammon studied clarinet and served as a graduate teaching assistant.