News and Events

OFE News Release

Susie Thurmond Named President
of Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence

October 31, 2011

Dow Hughes, outgoing president of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, welcomes Cheyenne community leader Susie Thurmond as new president during the foundation’s annual meeting in Oklahoma City.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Cheyenne community leader and longtime education supporter Susie Thurmond has been named president of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a charitable organization that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma's public schools.

Thurmond, who also serves on the foundation’s local education foundation outreach committee, became involved in the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence after serving as founding trustee of the Cheyenne Educational Foundation. She joined the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Board of Trustees in 1998 and served as chair of its Board Development Committee from 2007 to 2009. She is also a member of the foundation’s executive and management committees.

“I have been honored to be a trustee and am humbled by being selected as president of an organization that has had such a positive impact on education in Oklahoma in the 26 years since David Boren and a group of visionaries founded it,” Thurmond said. “The Foundation for Excellence celebrates the past with its early American history education programs, salutes the present with awards and grants to outstanding teachers and as a partner to 220 local education foundations in Oklahoma, and looks to the future with the Academic All-State Scholarships and its Boren Mentoring Initiative.” 

A Boston native, Thurmond graduated from Casady School in Oklahoma City and the University of Texas with degrees in sociology and nursing.  She has come to appreciate small town life since relocating to western Oklahoma in 1981. She and her husband, J. Peter Thurmond, run the Thurmond Ranch and have three grown children. She has been involved in such diverse projects as starting a preschool, serving on the volunteer ambulance board and becoming an Emergency Medical Technician, serving as treasurer and nurse at an outreach medical clinic, and teaching prenatal classes. As a former member of the Cheyenne Library Board, she was instrumental in the construction of city’s new library.

Active in PEO, Thurmond is a member of the Board of Directors of First National Bank & Trust of Elk City. She is also a graduate and life member of Leadership Oklahoma and a life member of the Oklahoma Archeological Society. In 2010, she was inducted into the Western Oklahoma Historical Society's Hall of Fame.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence was founded in 1985 by then U.S. Sen. David L. Boren to strengthen support for public education in Oklahoma. Through its Academic Awards Program, the foundation has presented more than $3.8 million in cash awards to honor outstanding public school students and educators. Through its Local Education Foundation Outreach Program, the foundation provides free technical support, training and networking opportunities to local education foundations across the state.

Among its other initiatives, the Foundation for Excellence coordinates a program to send Oklahoma teachers to the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute each summer and provides subscriptions for schools to receive Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trips. The award-winning field trips help students to experience 18 th-century colonial life through live television broadcasts, website activities and direct access to Williamsburg historians.

In 2006, the foundation launched the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative to promote the growth and establishment of quality youth mentoring programs throughout Oklahoma. The Foundation also administers Professional Development Grants for Teachers to attend national conferences and institutes, and partners with the national Fund for Teachers and the Tulsa Community Foundation to provide grants of up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for teams of teachers for self-designed summer professional development opportunities in locations around the world. Thanks to generous bridge funding from the national Fund for Teachers, 565 Oklahoma educators have received grants totaling more than $1.9 million since 2006.