The Edmond Sun


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 For more information, go to

Text Only
  • Edmond Youth Chorus auditions begin Monday

    The Fine Arts Institute of Edmond is seeking talented youth to try out for the upcoming season of the Edmond Youth Chorus.

    July 25, 2014

  • Rainbow Fleet introduces statewide child care line

    Oklahoma parents can now access a statewide program designed to provide resources and referrals for services across Oklahoma.

    July 25, 2014

  • Team Oklahoma Team Oklahoma brings home third place from NTAE

    Members of Team Oklahoma competing in the National Tournament of Academic Excellence placed third at the national competition held recently in Orlando.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Edmond School District’s change orders anticipated

    When building new schools and classrooms there may be additional costs, but when renovating older buildings those costs can more than double, according to a Edmond School District official.
    “When remodeling, you have unknown and hidden costs and you need to include in your budgeted funds for the built-in items you can not see,” said Bret Towne, Edmond’s associate superintendent of general administration.

    July 25, 2014

  • OC welcomes missionary, military families

    For the ninth consecutive year Oklahoma Christian University will host missionary and military families returning to the United States at Global Reunion 2014.
    The July 23-27 camp has doubled in size in the last two years with 150 participants from 43 countries on campus.
    The camp is for children who are known as Third Culture Kids (TCKs) though parents are allowed to attend sessions as well. Directors Kent and Nancy Hartman, missionaries-in-residence at OC, give tools and resources to families that have lived outside the United States and are now seeking to reenter U.S. culture. The Hartmans spent more than 10 years as missionaries in Australia and were surprised by the challenges of reintegrating their family into America.

    July 25, 2014

  • UCO DEBATE_submitted.jpg UCO debate team succeeds at nationals

    The University of Central Oklahoma’s debate team traveled to Bloomington, Ind., at the end of March to compete in the Cross Examination Debate Association’s National Championship Tournament (CEDANCT), bringing home several awards and finishing the year ranked no. 24 in the nation.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • OBU dance team celebrates National Dance Day

    In 2010, “So You Think You Can Dance” co-creator and Dizzy Feet Foundation co-president Nigel Lythgoe created National Dance Day in an effort to help people embrace dance and combat obesity on the last Saturday in July.
    This year, on July 26, Oklahoma Baptist University’s dance team will host a fundraiser that allows participants to dance all day for $30. The fundraiser will be in the Noble Complex on OBU’s campus.
    Cami Gower, an OBU junior and co-captain/co-founder of the dance team, said the team’s officers have been planning for their upcoming season since April. Gower is a graduate of Deer Creek High School.
    “Since then we have been coming up with better ways to reach the community with dance,” she said. “This day of dance was a great way to do it and help the team raise funds.”

    July 24, 2014

  • OCU alumna earns honor society fellowship

    Oklahoma City University alumna Neilee Wood was awarded a fellowship from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

    July 21, 2014


    The Oklahoma Arts Institute is a private, nonprofit organization developed in 1977, with a mission to provide exceptional multidisciplinary arts experiences that develop individual talent and inspire a lifelong passion for the arts. OAI administers a program for talented Oklahoma youth every June and a series of continuing education workshops for adults every fall.
    Following are nine biographies of the 41 Edmond-area students who attended the prestigious Summer Arts Institute. The students worked with award-winning artists in nine areas of the literary, visual and performing arts. Biographies were published in each Tuesday MidWeek and Saturday Weekender edition of The Sun through July.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • North senior wins Edward C. Joullian III Scholarship

    Kassidy Gary, a senior from Edmond North High School, recently received the Oklahoma State Fair’s Edward C. Joullian III Scholarship. Gary’s accomplishment was recognized at the State Board of Education’s May meeting.

    July 21, 2014