HSU grad named Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Henderson grad Ouida Newton, who serves as a math teacher at Poyen High School, is the 2015 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, the state Department of Education announced Friday.

“Newton has a strong teaching history and outstanding accomplishments, making her a deserving teacher for this recognition,” state Education Commissioner Tony Wood said.

Newton has a bachelor’s degree in education from Henderson State University at Arkadelphia and a master’s degree in library and informational science from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. During her 34-year career, she has taught Algebra I and II, sixth-grade science, pre-algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, calculus, trigonometry, transition-to-college math, physics, and Algebra A and B.

Newton also has served as a library media specialist, math coach, curriculum supervisor, class sponsor, senior Beta Club sponsor and Teachers of Tomorrow supervisor. She previously taught in the Searcy School District and the Pulaski County Special School District.

In addition to teaching math to grades seven through 12 at Poyen High School, Newton teaches algebra, trigonometry and introduction to computers at the College of the Ouachitas in Malvern.

Last year, Newton was named the Arkansas Rural Education Teacher of the Year and Arkansas Middle Level Math Teacher of the Year.

She received a $1,000 award from the Walton Family Foundation when she was named one of 15 regional finalists for Teacher of the Year. The foundation presented her with an additional $14,000 award in a ceremony Friday.

Also, SMART Technologies of Canada gave Newton the 2015 Teaching Excellence Award, which comes with technology products for the classroom and training.

State law allows the Arkansas Teacher of the Year to take a year of paid administrative leave for professional development and to serve as a non-voting member of the state Board of Education.