- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 19, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An environmental science teacher at Broken Arrow Public Schools has been named Oklahoma’s Teacher of the Year for 2018.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said Tuesday that Donna Gradel (GRAW-dul) was named Oklahoma Teacher of the Year after extensive interviews with 12 finalists by a 20-member panel of judges.

A 29-year veteran educator, Gradel began her teaching career after receiving one of the first women’s basketball scholarships to West Virginia University.

A teacher in Broken Arrow for 21 years, Gradel’s students designed a large-scale aquaponics system to provide clean water and a sustainable food system to raise fish and plants for impoverished orphans in a remote region of Kenya. After months of research and data collection, Gradel and her students then traveled to Africa to complete the system.

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