Mandy Manning, the Spokane, Wash., high school teacher selected this week as the 2018 National Teacher of the Year, is a graduate of West Texas A&M University and spent several years teaching in Texas Panhandle schools.
Manning received a master's of arts degree in communications from WT in 2005, according to biographical information provided by the Council of Chief State School Officers, which sponsors the National Teacher of the Year program.
Between 2001 and 2008, Manning's bio states that she taught Spearman High School and Amarillo High School, and served in the Japanese Exchange and Teaching program.
Manning told the Washington Post on Thursday that it was her experience in Spearman, where she interned helping her aunt teach classes, that solidified her love for teaching.
“The first day in the classroom, I was hooked,” Manning is quoted in the article. “My aunt is a teacher, and she saw me with these kids, and she goes, ‘Mandy, what are you doing? You need to be a teacher.’ I was like, ‘Well, I don’t have a degree.’ She said, ‘Just try.’ And I did.”
Another WT alumna has a recent claim to the nation's highest teaching honor: The 2015 National Teacher of the Year, Shanna Peeples, obtained her bachelor's degree in English literature from the school. Peeples won the award as a teacher at Palo Duro High School.