Oklahoma teachers are up against severe budget cuts again this year, but the Tuttle Area Chamber of Commerce gave Tuttle teachers something to look forward to with their Third Annual Teacher Appreciation Breakfast at Snow Hill Baptist Thursday, Aug. 18. The Tuttle Education Foundation joined the chamber in hosting this year’s event which welcomed more than 200 teachers, school officials and community members.
Tuttle Schools Superintendent Bobby Waitman welcomed the principals who acknowledged all of the teachers new to the district, acknowledging all of the new positions for existing staff members.
Waitman congratulated the teachers in attendance on the standard they set for themselves.
“That’s the thing about this group in this room this morning that surpasses any problem, any issue, any challenge or any concern,” Waitman said. “You individually and collectively set a standard yourselves for an education you want your children to have and the education you want your neighbor’s child to have.”
Many of the Tuttle Education Foundation (TEF) members attended the event. TEF board member and former Tuttle Schools Superintendent Lee Coker was the first speaker introduced by chamber president Matt Soutee. Coker said the foundation was a dream of his dating back to when he was the superintendent.
“I couldn’t get it done then because it was a little self-serving to go out and raise money for classroom stuff with taxpayers thinking you already have enough money,” Coker said to the teachers, joined on stage by his fellow TEF partners.
“So when I retired, I shared the dream with enough people and these people on stage right here were willing to get on board and helped me implement this. Now, they’ve taken off with it and it’s really been outstanding. We are so fortunate in Tuttle that we have such outstanding instruction, but I know as a former superintendent that Mr. Waitman doesn’t have the money to fund all the projects and ideas that you have.”
That’s where TEF hopes to help.
TEF President Shelley Overholt said Sunday that the organization and its members are excited and grateful. “The TEF is excited to help teachers reach their innovative dreams through the resources provided through our grants,” she said, “and we are grateful for the contributions made by so many people to put money back into Tuttle classrooms.”
Tuttle High School Principal Pat Ragsdale welcomed new teachers Carolyn Rowbottom, Jessica Mitchell, Matt Crumley, Christian McAfee, Bobby Williams and Donna McKinney.
Staff new to the middle school this year were recognized by principal Scott Moore. They are Sean Brooks, Genevieve Craig, Dusty Golowenski, Brian Lester, Janice Martinez, Summer Patterson, Zach Rowell, Jennifer Terry, Greg Wallis, Carmen West and Maya Mount.
Tuttle Elementary’s new faces will be Angela Flanary, Marsha Shuck, Brooke Smith, and Blake Stringer.
The chamber awarded door prizes to dozens of teachers. Chamber Director Pat Cox said donors throughout the community were quick to donate to local teachers.
“Everyone was very generous and very gracious,” Cox said. “Everyone I talked to was happy to support the teachers and the school system. We did not get any nos. When we talk to people about this breakfast, I did not have any say they wouldn’t support it.”
TEF’s opening act occurred towards the end of last school year by awarding a Teacher of the Year Award for a teacher at each Tuttle school. Mrs. Abello was recognized as the teacher of the year for the elementary; Mrs. Ferrell was named the intermediate school’s teacher of the year, Mrs. Atkins received the honor for the staff at Tuttle Middle School, and the high school’s teacher of the year was Jess Florence.
TEF’s Board of Director also includes Carrie Streber, Kasey Neasbitt, Stefanie Douglas, Leslie Walker, Jeff Woodyard, Kandi Link and Stacie Baumann.
For more information on the Tuttle Area Chamber of Commerce, visit their website tuttleareachamber.com. For more information on the Tuttle Education Foundation, including how to donate, visit tuttleeducationfoundation.org.