OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence will host its 38th annual Academic Awards Celebration at 5 p.m. May 4 at Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Norman.

This celebration of academic excellence will honor five outstanding educators as Medal for Excellence recipients, 100 public school seniors as Academic All-State honorees and three Oklahoma public school foundations as winners of the Outstanding Program Awards.

“This event showcases the incredible impact of Oklahoma’s public schools and the dedicated people who work to make them exceptional,” said OFE Executive Director Elizabeth Inbody. “The Academic Awards Celebration is an inspiring, unforgettable event, and we encourage everyone to attend.”

2023 National Teacher of the Year Rebecka Peterson, a math teacher at Union High School in Tulsa, will deliver closing remarks.

The event, which starts at 5 p.m., will be held at Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Norman. Event registration is available at OFE.org. The event will be broadcast on OETA at 3 p.m. May 18 and 10 a.m. May 19.  

One of Oklahoma’s most prestigious teaching honors, the Medal for Excellence recognizes public school educators for their passion and innovation, commitment to professional development and extraordinary impact on student learning. Each recipient receives $5,000 and an etched glass “Roots and Wings” sculpture.

OFE will present Medal for Excellence awards to Jennifer Goldner (Elementary Teaching), fifth grade science teacher at Jay Upper Elementary School; Jill Andrews (Secondary Teaching), English language arts teacher at Claremore High School; Kevin Hime (Administration), superintendent of Lawton Public Schools; Dr. Sapna Das-Bradoo (Regional University & Community College Teaching), professor of biology and interim chair of the Department of Natural Sciences at Northeastern State University Broken Arrow; and Dr. Greg Burge (Research University Teaching), economics professor and department chair at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

The Outstanding Program Awards for Oklahoma School Programs recognize innovative programs sponsored or administered by public school foundations in Oklahoma. Each program receives a plaque and a monetary award of $1,000.

The award-winning foundations are the Edmond Public Schools Foundation for its Student Ambassador Program, the Cheyenne Education Foundation for its Honors Night, and the Foundation for Tulsa Schools for its support of the Healthy Thriving Schools Initiative.

The 2024 Academic All-State class features 100 high school seniors from 71 schools in 64 districts. Each senior will receive a $1,500 award, a medallion and an honor cord. Academic All-State recognition represents students’ extraordinary academic achievement, leadership and community service. A full list of honorees is available at OFE.org/Academic-All-Staters.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is dedicated to recognizing and encouraging academic excellence in Oklahoma public schools. Since 1986, OFE has led a movement to strengthen public education in Oklahoma and shine a spotlight on exceptional students and teachers who are excelling in the classroom. OFE’s Oklahoma School Foundations Network strengthens community support for public schools by providing free training, resources and networking opportunities for new and established public school foundations statewide.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Thirty-four Oklahoma fifth- and eighth-grade teachers have been selected for fellowships to attend the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute in June.

The renowned teacher institute is held in and around Colonial Williamsburg, the restored capital city of 18th-century Virginia that is known as the world’s largest living history museum. During the institute, teachers immerse themselves in early American history by meeting character interpreters and participating in hands-on activities and reenactments.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence coordinates the selection of educators from the state for fellowships to participate in the teacher institute. The fellowships cover program activities, airfare, lodging, most meals and a stipend for classroom materials.

The fifth-grade teacher institute will take place June 2-7, and it will focus on the daily life of colonial Virginians and the transition from subject to citizen that occurred during the Revolutionary War period.

The eighth-grade teacher institute will be June 9-14, and it will look at how the concept of American identity began in the colonial period and continues to evolve and transform with each generation.

OFE, a nonprofit that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools, has coordinated Oklahoma’s participation in the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute since 1993.

The program is made possible through the leadership and support of the late Oklahoma City businessman Edward C. Joullian III. Joullian was an active supporter and former board member of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and an OFE trustee. Joullian’s family, along with a group of loyal donors, continues to support the fellowship program, which has served 980 Oklahoma teachers since 1993.

Fifth-Grade CWTI Fellows

Aimee Arnold, Purcell Intermediate School

Madison Austin, Lincoln Elementary School, Chickasha

Amanda Bekkelund, Okarche Elementary School

Kala Butler, Lone Star School, Sapulpa

Debbie Clemons, Western Oaks Elementary School, Putnam City

Stephanie Cobb, Kennedy Elementary School, Norman

Jennifer Coonfield Kelly, Eisenhower International School, Tulsa

Betsy Davidson, Northmoor Elementary School, Moore

Molly Gann, Marlow Elementary School, Marlow

Heather Karn, Meadowbrook Intermediate, Mustang

Martha Kennedy, Madison Elementary School, Norman

Taylor Kirtley, Madison Elementary School, Norman

Amy LeClaire, Choctaw Elementary School

Kara Martin, Redstone Intermediate School, Yukon

Kari Millan, Andersen Elementary, Tulsa Union

Brandi Pierce, Turkey Ford Elementary School, Wyandotte

Shana Ramirez, Zarrow International School, Tulsa

Jan Reed, Sweetwater Public School

Casey Rice, Smith Elementary School, Owasso

Lisa Sizelove, Frederick Elementary School

Kenneth Trinidad, Ellen Ochoa Elementary, Tulsa Union

Toni Turner-Cole, Lincoln Elementary School, Chickasha

Jordyn VanBuskirk, Piedmont Intermediate School

Tammy Walls, Middleberg Public School


Eighth-Grade CWTI Fellows

Sabina Barta, Perkins-Tryon Middle School

John Creter, Longfellow Middle School, Norman

Samantha Crissup, Mustang Central Middle School, Mustang

Wythe Dodson, Ernest Childers Middle School, Broken Arrow

Sherri Fast, Pioneer Pleasant Vale Junior High, Enid

Elizabeth Golliver, Chandler Junior High

Casey Hitchcock, Boswell Public Schools

Anthony Muscari, Western Oaks Middle School, Putnam City

Chris Myers, Canadian Valley Christian Academy, Yukon

Greg Wehrer, Blanchard Middle School