The Edmond Sun

Education

January 13, 2014

Benson seeks chance to serve school district

EDMOND — EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of two profile stories featuring the two candidates for the Edmond Public School District 4 board seat. On Jan. 21, read about incumbent Stephanie Bills.

Cynthia Benson is running for the Edmond Public School District 4 board member position, which will be decided by Edmond residents in District 4 on Feb. 11.

The District 4 spot is currently filled by Stephanie Bills, who was appointed by the seated board members to replace George Cohlmia. Cohlmia stepped down early in 2013 so his daughter might fill a teaching position in the district. Elected board members fulfill a five-year term with one member’s term expiring each year. The board oversees the district’s budget, policies, construction projects, purchases, contracts and reviews personnel matters such as hiring and firing.

Benson, 44, said she originally thought about running for the school board member position in the summer when friends started calling her asking her if she might be interested.

With two children in middle school, Benson said she has always wanted them to go out and pursue whatever they wanted to achieve.

“I chose to say home and use my gifts, skills and talents to benefit and enrich my community,” Benson said. “I have been blessed to have the opportunity to do so.”

As a volunteer in her community, Benson said she has developed a heart for all children, especially those who might get lost in the system, to make sure they have all of the advantages that are available to them.

“I have also realized it is important to make sure parents know all of the options available to them in planning their child’s education,” Benson said. “I also want to make sure our children graduate ready to work in a global economy.”

An active volunteer in the Edmond Public School District for the past nine years, Benson said she has helped in the school with anything that needed to be done from making copies, helping organize fundraisers and school parties, to serving on the Big Budget Committee for the school’s PTO (Parent Teacher Organization).

She also helps pack 55 backpacks each week for the children in her school who are eligible for free and reduced nutrition programs.

“We are blessed to have great schools, wonderful teachers and skilled administrators,” Benson said, “and parents who are bridging the gap helping whenever and wherever they can.”

She has two sons, Blake, who is in the eight grade and Grant in the sixth grade at Summit Middle School.

As a board member, Benson said she realizes one of the greatest challenges for the board will be in keeping up with the district’s growth.

Benson said there are numerous programs in the district that expose the students to a way of choosing a better life including selecting from a large number of elective options in the middle schools, learning coding on computers in the high schools, choosing extra-curricular activities that give opportunities to explore, and the STEM program.

A product of a public education in Oklahoma, Benson said she recognizes its value.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oklahoma in clinical dietetics, while working full time to put herself through school.

She married Brent Benson, her husband of 21 years, while he was finishing his master’s degree in engineering at OU. She worked as a clinical dietitian in Arkansas and Missouri while her husband was part of a leadership program with AT&T, before returning to Oklahoma in 1997. Although they could have stayed in Missouri, Cynthia and her husband chose to move back to Oklahoma to be near family and raise their children.

She worked as a clinical dietitian at Deaconess Hospital, HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital and as a practicum instructor at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center prior to she and her husband starting their family.  

While taxpayers in Edmond have been generous in approving bond issues for improvements, Benson is concerned about funding levels in general, especially how funding cuts at the state level might impact the school district in the future.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 11 in District 4. Edmond’s District 4 begins at the intersection of 15th Street and Boulevard and extends south to 33rd, west to Kelly Avenue, south to Memorial Road, east to Eastern Avenue/Boulevard Street, south to one-half mile south of Memorial Road, west to a point one-half mile west of Meridian Avenue, north one mile to a point located one-half mile north of Memorial Road, east one mile to a point located one-half mile east of Meridian Avenue, north to 15th and east on 15th Street to Eastern Avenue/Boulevard.

TO CONTACT Benson, email her at 4cynthiabenson@att.net. For more information, go to www.cynthiabenson4edmondschools.com.

1
Text Only
Education
  • north 1.jpg U.S. News ranks city high schools in state’s Top 10

    All three Edmond high schools are ranked among the Top 10 in the state in a prestigious national list.
    U.S. News & World Report, which publishes annual rankings, ranked Edmond North No. 3 in Oklahoma and No. 437 nationwide. Memorial ranked No. 6 in Oklahoma and No. 847 nationwide. Santa Fe ranked No. 8 in Oklahoma and No. 1,075 nationwide.
    “This recognition serves as validation for our students, parents and staff members at all levels who work together relentlessly in pursuit of academic excellence, Edmond Public Schools Superintendent David Goin said.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • OC expands to 5 academic colleges

    Oklahoma Christian University will expand from three to five colleges beginning with the 2014-15 academic year.
    OC’s five academic colleges will be the College of Biblical Studies, the College of Business Administration, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural and Health Sciences.
    “Our academic and leadership teams have been planning, praying and discussing how to build on OC’s legacy of exceptional success in science, engineering and business,” said Scott LaMascus, vice president for academic affairs. “Our new colleges will focus on growth in these areas and implement strategic planning to help us serve more students.”

    April 23, 2014

  • Ekso 1.jpg Deer Creek students see bionic suit in action

    In 2010, a car accident left Guthrie resident Mary Beth Davis paralyzed from the waist down.
    In a few weeks, thanks to INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation, determination and an Ekso Bionics suit, she will be walking across a stage to receive a college diploma from Oklahoma State University.
    Wednesday afternoon, Davis was at Deer Creek Middle School where students of teacher Jamie Brehm got to see Davis and the suit in action and learn about how it helps people live a fuller life.
    Brehm said the opportunity to have the demonstration fit perfectly with the testing schedule. Brehm said a bonus was having Davis with her inspirational story come to the school. In addition to graduating soon, Davis lives an independent life and she was recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Be on the lookout for termites

    Warming temperatures and spring rainfall means swarming conditions for the homeowners’ nemesis in Oklahoma — the termite.
    Termites are Mother Nature’s way of recycling dead wood, as well as aerating the soil and increasing its fertility and water percolation. They are an important food source for other insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians and birds within the food web, and they are essential for the wellbeing of the environment.

    April 23, 2014

  • earth day 7.jpg Central community learns about water conservation

    Edmond residents know about rain that falls from their roofs after a storm. Some may not know what kind of important role it plays in the nation’s water supply.
    Tim Tillman, the University of Central Oklahoma’s sustainability coordinator, said UCO has a tradition of innovation in sustainable practices. Tillman said Earth Day, first brought to the campus more than 20 years ago, began that tradition.
    During Tuesday’s Earth Day Fair, Jason Summers, a Coca-Cola account manager for on-premise sales, was giving away rain barrels and educating members of the Central Oklahoma community about the benefits of rain barrels.

    April 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Accountability push for public schools now in question

    One by one, K-12 education reforms passed in previous years by Oklahoma lawmakers are being targeted for weakening or repeal.
    Among them: Common Core State Standards, the Reading Sufficiency Act, A-F school grades for districts, and middle-school end-of-instruction exams for history and social studies. These could all be scaled back or revoked by various legislative bills that have passed in both the House and Senate.

    April 22, 2014

  • State suspends student testing over glitches

    Computer glitches forced state education officials to suspend online testing Monday, affecting student testing in Edmond and Deer Creek.
    State Superintendent Janet Barresi said as a result of online testing disruptions for students in grades 6-8 and high school end-of-instruction (EOIs) exams she directed testing vendor CTB/McGraw Hill to suspend online testing for the day.
    “We certainly share in the frustration that students and school districts feel,” Barresi said. “It is of paramount importance that CTB finds the nature of the problem and resolves it as quickly as possible.”

    April 21, 2014

  • Guthrie board calls for Common Core repeal

    A resolution recently passed by the Guthrie school board calling for the repeal of Common Core standards has attracted the attention and support of several state legislators.
    State Reps. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, Dale DeWitt, R-Braman, Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, and state Sen. AJ Griffin, R-Guthrie, praised the school board for weighing in on the Oklahoma Legislature’s pending action to repeal state-issued Common Core standards.

    April 21, 2014

  • Touch-A-Truck event draws families to UCO

    Edmond Electric and Edmond Vehicle Maintenance are co-hosting the Edmond Touch-A-Truck from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 17 in the UCO parking lot off Second Street. Touch-A-Truck is a fundraising event that provides children of all ages with the opportunity to experience life-size vehicles and interact with community support leaders like police officers, firemen, construction workers and many more. Families will have the opportunity for a hands-on exploration of many vehicles such as Edmond’s own fire trucks and police cars, an Edmond Electric bucket truck and even a solid waste truck.
    Admission for the Touch-A-Truck event is a suggested $2 donation with the proceeds going to the Edmond HOPE Center. For more information, contact Edmond Electric at 216-7671 or email michelle.gumaer@edmondok.com.

    April 21, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 19, 2014