Rookie of the Year

rookie of the year - Mikayla McKinzie holding flowers in front of rookie teacher of the year banner with cookies next to her

Mikayla McKinzie was named Heartland’s 2024 Rookie of the Year.

Miss McKinzie was born and raised in Edmond, Oklahoma. She graduated from Edmond Memorial High School in 2018 and got her Bachelors in Vocal Music Education from Oklahoma Christian University in April, 2023.  

Miss McKinzie began student teaching at Edmond Santa Fe High School before completing her student teaching as a long-term substitute at Heartland from Spring Break to the end of the Spring 2023 semester.

While a student at OC, Miss McKinzie was heavily involved in the Music Department by taking part in numerous shows,  5 of the 7 offered ensembles, and also serving as the President of OC's chapter of Professional Music Educators.

Miss McKinzie was born into a musical family so she always knew she wanted music to be a part of her career in some way. She decided to major in Vocal Music Education while a junior in high school after being inspired by her directors, Mr. and Mrs. Singleton. Mr. Singleton is still at EMHS while Mrs. Singleton is now at West Field (which feeds into Heartland). 

Miss McKinzie loves that she gets some of her high school director's students, seeing it as a full circle moment. She also feels that it is special to spend her time in the district where she grew up, even if it is in a different vertical!

Miss McKinzie absolutely loves what she does, saying that her students bring her joy and that she loves making beautiful music and laughing with them all day.

Already Miss McKinzie has racked up some impressive accomplishments with her students, including having 13 members of COCDA Junior High Honor Choirs, 7 members of OkCDA Junior High All-State Choirs, and performing the National Anthem at an OKC Thunder game! The Heartland Show Choir won trophies for Best in Class for 6A Junior High as well as Junior High Sweepstakes for scoring the highest among all Junior High Show Choirs at their contest in mid-February. 

Miss McKinzie is not only the Choir Teacher, Show Choir Director and Choreographer, she is also the Music Director and Choreographer of the school musical (this year is Annie Jr.!) and Co-head of Heartland’s Social Committee, making her an integral member of the Heartland team. We are so fortunate to have her positive energy and expertise.

Rookie of the Year is awarded to an outstanding teacher in their first year of teaching. (It is not awarded in years when no teachers are eligible for nomination.)

Heartland Middle School’s Rookies of the Year





Bridgett Talley

7th Grade Geography, 8th Grade History


Jordan McDow



Mikayla McKinzie