News and Events

OFE News Release

Foundation to Honor State's Top Educators, Students
at May 19 Academic Awards Banquet in Oklahoma City

April 20, 2007
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Three outstanding Oklahoma teachers, a superintendent and an alternative education program will be honored along with 100 of the state’s top public high school seniors when the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence presents its 21st annual Academic Awards Banquet at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at the Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens, Oklahoma City.

Approximately 1,000 people are expected to attend the statewide tribute to “the best of the best in Oklahoma public education.” The event is open to the public, and admission is $50 per person. Reservations should be made by May 7 by contacting the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence office at (405) 236-0006.

David Boren, chairman and founder of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, will serve as emcee for the evening’s festivities, which will include a keynote address by Brown University President Ruth Simmons. The first African American and first woman to serve as president of an Ivy League University, Simmons is the recipient of numerous academic and humanitarian honors. The celebration will also feature an orchestra comprised of Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute students and alumni.
“The theme for this year’s banquet, ‘Roots and Wings,’ ties into the state’s centennial and also the promise that the future holds, as evidenced in the achievements of this year’s Academic All-State student leaders,” said Les Risser, banquet chairwoman.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a non-profit, charitable organization created in 1985 to recognize and encourage academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. Since 1987, the foundation has selected 100 outstanding public high school seniors each year as Academic All-Staters. This prestigious award provides each recipient with a $1,500 scholarship and bronze medallion. The 2007 Academic All-State class hails from 74 different schools in 67 Oklahoma school districts. The honorees were selected from 544 nominations in what is described by Boren as “Oklahoma’s most rigorous academic competition.”

To be nominated, students meet one of the following criteria: an American College Test (ACT) composite score of at least 30; a Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) combined critical reading and math score of at least 1350; or be selected as a semi-finalist for a National Merit, National Achievement or National Hispanic Scholarship. Once nominated, students are selected on the basis of academic achievement, extracurricular activities and community involvement, as well as an essay submitted by each nominee. The 2007 Academic All-Staters are listed online at

During the banquet, the foundation also presents the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence to three public school teachers, one each at the elementary, secondary, and college/university levels, and an administrator from the elementary or secondary level. A Medal for Excellence is also awarded to an exemplary alternative education program. Each medal recipient receives a $7,500 cash award as well as a glass “Roots and Wings” sculpture, created by Oklahoma artist Ron Roberts and produced by Jim Triffo of Oklahoma City. In addition, the schools of the teachers and administrator receive a $1,000 cash award.

This year’s recipients of Oklahoma Medals for Excellence in Teaching are kindergarten teacher Eileta Faye Creekpaum of Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Tulsa; art teacher Kathleen A. Blake of Edmond Memorial High School; and James Breckenridge, professor of piano at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford. Bobby D. Russell, superintendent of Pauls Valley Public Schools, will receive the foundation’s administration award, while Emerson High School of Oklahoma City will receive the Medal for Excellence in Alternative Education.

The Academic Awards Banquet will premiere statewide on public television at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 26, on OETA. Subsequent airings will be shown on OETA’s OKLA digital channel. For digital broadcast listings, visit the station’s Web site at

For more information on the Academic Awards Banquet, visit the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Web site at or call (405) 236-0006.