Oklahoma

Kelli Kana

Position: Fifth Grade Teacher

School: Healdton Elementary School

School District: Healdton Public Schools

City, State: Healdton, Oklahoma

About the Nominee: Kelli Kana was nominated by her spouse, Justin Kana. Mrs. Kana is a LifeChanger because of her tireless desire to help her students succeed. She has tremendous success in getting the most out of her students in terms of academics. This is evidenced by her outstanding test scores on the state's accountability and assessment system. More importantly, she has touched the lives of her students emotionally through her generosity and kindness. She makes every student feel worthy and capable of being their best self.

Mrs. Kana doesn't allow her students to use their disabilities or disadvantages to hold themselves back. She has them focus on their strengths and helps them improve their weaknesses so they can feel empowered in the classroom and in life. Additionally, she is the middle school cheer coach and works relentlessly to make her athletes the best they can be. She requires them to be dedicated and dependable at practice and during games, and she expects and accepts nothing but superior effort in all aspects of the sport. The cheerleaders love her for her desire and compassion towards them and their craft. Mrs. Kana is a tremendous LifeChanger in her community!

[nominee_videos nominee_email="kkana@healdtonschools.org"]

Christi Blakemore

Position: Computer Science Teacher / Student Council Advisor

School: Healdton High School

School District: Healdton Public Schools

City, State: Healdton, Oklahoma

About the Nominee: Christi Blakemore was nominated by her principal, Justin Kana. Mrs. Blakemore is a LifeChanger at Healdton High School and in her community because of her love for the school from which she graduated and the town in which she was raised. She is actively involved in all aspects of the school system, from teaching computers to advising the student council. She is also the district technology director and the owner of the town's newspaper.

Mrs. Blakemore is true blue and a bulldog to the core. Her school spirit and love of her students is evident in all that she does for Healdton. She organizes Spirit Week activities each year during the football homecoming, hosts numerous blood drives in conjunction with the Oklahoma Blood Institute as a service project for Student Council, coordinates a Veteran's Day Assembly and performs any task assigned her to the best of her abilities. She has definitely touched every student's life that she has encountered during her tenure!

[nominee_videos nominee_email="cblakemore@healdtonschools.org"]

Ruthie Rayner

Position: Principal

School: Stanley Hupfeld Academy At Western Village

School District: Oklahoma City Public Schools

City, State: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

About the Nominee: https://youtu.be/6DsYjh6xqto Ruthie Rayner is an inspiration to her staff! She is a selfless leader from the bottom of her feet to the top of her head. Ms. Rayner is a "roll-your-sleeves-up" kind of principal who works in the trenches, side-by-side with all staff, whether it is the custodian, kitchen staff, paraprofessionals or teachers. She does not expect her staff to do anything she wouldn’t do. She is both a kid’s principal and a teacher’s principal.

Prior to her current role, she was an assistant principal at a school in an affluent suburban district. She chose to take on the role of principal in a challenging, urban, Title I school because she considers Stanley Hupfeld Academy her calling and her home. Many of the school's students do not come equipped with everything they need to be successful. Students often come to school without their most basic needs being met, and the demands of this school are high. Ms. Rayner tackles these challenges head-on.

First, she recognizes that the students' basic needs are a high priority and must be met before learning can take place. She provides her staff with professional development that supports the issues they run into daily, such as hunger, learning differentiation, healthy diets and giving students hope for the future. Then, she recognizes that everyone has something important to contribute and taps into her best resource – her staff. Ms. Rayner recognizes her staff's talents, supports their needs and encourages their growth. She creates an environment that makes both staff and students want to go above and beyond because that is the behavior and attitude she displays. Her excitement is contagious! She organizes, operates and acquires donations for an "incentive store" where students can buy prizes from behavior tickets they earn from the Positive Behavior Intervention Model (PBIS) program. What an inspiration! It was contagious when she implemented “Watch D.O.G.S – Dads of Great Students,” and the Parents as Partners volunteer program. It’s infectious when the school has family events and Ms. Rayner personally sets up the chairs at the beginning of the night and takes them down after the event. This tells her community that she is there for them the long run.

When a teacher at Stanley Hupfeld has concerns with students, Ms. Rayner is always there to support and promote what is best for the student. She holds and attends weekly Professional Learning Community meetings to foster collaboration among the staff. She helps them look at interventions and progress data from students that have been identified to be at-risk with reading or math difficulties. When she meets with staff, she doesn’t simply ask questions about their data. She listens to them and brainstorms with them to come up with solutions that best fit the needs of each child. She knows classroom and pedagogical techniques across all grade levels. Ms. Rayner continues to maintain her own National Board Teaching credential, even when she doesn’t benefit from the financial incentive. Most importantly, the genuine connection she maintains with “teaching” instead of “management” lets her staff know that she values their work and knows their struggles.

Ms. Rayner has been seen picking up trash on the school grounds, planting and harvesting vegetables in the raised garden beds with students from a “Growing Up Green” grant she wrote, meeting with parents, teaching a science lesson, covering recess duty and running car pool duty, all in the course of a couple of hours! She is never in her office and is always out and about. If that isn’t enough hats for her to wear, Ms. Rayner also works tirelessly at promoting the school’s mentoring program, as well as being a public representative to support many initiatives that give students extracurricular opportunities, including the Ballroom Dancing program, Eagle Entertainers and various sports teams. The list of things she does for her school is endless. She is always teaching, learning, and promoting Stanley Hupfeld's mission!

[nominee_videos nominee_email="ruthie.rayner@wvacademy.com"]

Michelle Curry

Position: Third Grade Special Education Teacher School: Will Rogers Elementary School

School District: Vinita Public Schools

City, State: Vinita, Oklahoma

About the Nominee: Michelle Curry works tirelessly to ensure the success of her students. She cares for them, often taking time outside of school to work with them and check that their needs are met. She works with the community to raise funds for Vinita Public Schools' Special Olympics Team and helps train the athletes. Ms. Curry also helps her colleagues in understanding the needs of their mutual students and is an integral part of the Special Education leadership team. Additionally, she has been named Vinita Public Schools' District Teacher of the Year in the past. She is truly a LifeChanger!

[nominee_videos nominee_email="currymd@vinitahornets.com"]

Stacy Mccall

Position: Special Education Teacher School: Prairie Vale Elementary School

School District: Deer Creek Schools

City, State: Edmond, Oklahoma

About the Nominee: Stacy McCall works hard to meet the individual needs of her students. She advocates for students' unique needs and works to meet those needs in the regular education classroom. Mrs. McCall has great rapport with students' families, as well as her colleagues who include students in regular education classrooms. In order to provide her students the opportunity to participate in various sports, she has volunteered to be a Special Olympics coach. She is an awesome LifeChanger!

[nominee_videos nominee_email="stacymccall@dcsokc.org"]