The Edmond Sun
The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a statewide charitable organization that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools, has announced the addition of 14 new members to its Board of Trustees.
Former Edmond Mayor Patrice Douglas, who is now chairman of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, was among those appointed for a 3-year term.
Douglas, who earned degrees from Oklahoma Christian University and the University of Oklahoma, practiced law for 13 years before joining her family business, ACP Sheet Metal, where she served as vice president and general counsel. She later went into banking, serving as president of SpiritBank then as executive vice president of First Fidelity Bank, where she served until her appointment to the Corporation Commission. She has served on numerous state boards and task forces and is past chair of the Edmond Economic Development Authority. Among her honors, she received the Kate Barnard Award for Outstanding Public Service in Oklahoma.
Other appointees include: Stanley K. Brownlee, consultant, Wymer Brownlee, Enid; Marlo Duffy Turner, executive director, Jenks Public Schools Foundation, and Elizabeth White, former public school teacher, Jenks; Beth Johnson, owner, EZ GO Convenience Stores, Lawton; Jari Askins, former lieutenant governor and associate provost for External Relations, Stephenson Cancer Center; Chip Carter, executive vice president for Investor Relations, Covenant Global Investors; Paul B. Meyer, architect and managing member, MA+Architecture, Oklahoma City; Bill John Baker, principal chief, Cherokee Nation, of Tahlequah; and Randy L. Beutler, president of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford.
Several Tulsa residents appointed to the board are John A. Gaberino Jr., attorney, GableGotwals; Sanjay Meshri, managing director and executive vice president, Advance Research Chemicals Inc.; Steven R. Mitchell, managing director, Argonaut Private Equity; and former Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor, an attorney with McAfee & Taft.
“We are delighted to welcome these outstanding leaders to our Board of Trustees,” said Chairman David L. Boren, who founded the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence 27 years ago. “They each bring tremendous talents and a strong commitment to quality public education in Oklahoma, and we look forward to the many contributions they will bring to our foundation.”
Through its Academic Awards Program, the foundation has presented more than $4 million in cash awards to honor outstanding public school students and educators. Through its Local Education Foundation Outreach Program, the foundation provides free technical support, training and networking opportunities to local education foundations across the state.
Among its other initiatives, the Foundation for Excellence coordinates a program to send Oklahoma teachers to the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute each summer and provides subscriptions for schools to receive Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trips. The award-winning field trips help students to experience 18th-century colonial life through live television broadcasts, website activities and direct access to Williamsburg historians.
In 2006, the foundation launched the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative to promote the growth and establishment of quality youth mentoring programs throughout Oklahoma. The foundation also administers Professional Development Grants for Teachers to attend national conferences and institutes, and partners with the national Fund for Teachers and the Tulsa Community Foundation to provide grants of up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for teams of teachers for self-designed summer professional development opportunities in locations around the world.
Thanks to generous bridge funding from the national Fund for Teachers, 628 Oklahoma educators have received grants totaling $2.18 million since 2006.