Shawn Sheehan

About exactly a year ago we brought you the story of Shawn Sheehan, Oklahoma's 2016 Teacher of the Year.

At the time, he and about 40 other educators were running for office in the state, wanting to make a change because, as Sheehan puts it, lawmakers weren't prioritizing education. Funding for schools in the state has been cut tremendously over the past decade and teachers in Oklahoma are some of the lowest paid in the country.

Betsy DeVos, who is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, has given millions in campaign contributions to politicians across the country.

Some of that fiscal muscle trickled into Oklahoma during the last election cycle through a pro-school-choice “Super PAC” that, notably, opposed so-called “teachers’ caucus” candidates in many instances. (The caucus arose out of many educators’ frustration over what they view as low education funding levels and teacher pay.)

Emily Wendler

Oklahoma’s teacher caucus did not fare as well as they had hoped. Of 26 teachers running for office in the state— five won.

  • Rhonda Baker (R) - HD60
  • Forrest Bennett (D) - HD92
  • Mickey Dollens (D) - HD93
  • Michael Bergstrom (R) - SD01
  • Chris Kidd (R) - SD31

Months ago, educators decided to run for office in an effort to affect the education policies coming out of the legislature.

You can normally find Shawn Sheehan teaching math and special education in Norman, Oklahoma, just south of Oklahoma City. But school's out for the summer and instead, he's knocking on doors.

One-by-one he's asking voters in the state's central Senate District 15 to cast their vote for him. He's running unopposed in today's primary as an Independent, and after the polls close he'll know his Republican opponent.