News and Events

OFE News Release

Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence
Announces New Board Members

November 2, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a statewide charitable organization that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools, has announced the addition of eight new members to its Board of Trustees.

Appointed to serve three-year terms are State Rep. Todd Russ of CORDELL; attorney Matthew H. McBee of POTEAU; and Cheryl Evans, president of Northern Oklahoma College, TONKAWA. Several TULSA residents appointed to the board are Beth Bovaird, public relations and marketing consultant; Leslie Daugherty, manager of Growth Strategy and Development for Teach for America-Oklahoma; Denise Dutton, assistant provost for Honors and Faculty Development, University of Tulsa; Leslie B. Paris, senior vice president and manager of Corporate Community Relations, Bank of Oklahoma; and Joseph L. Parker Jr., chairman, Anchor Stone Co.

Welcoming new trustees to the board of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence are (back row center) outgoing president Dow Hughes of Tulsa and (second from right) incoming president Susie Thurmond of Cheyenne. Among the new board members from Tulsa are (front row, from left) Leslie B. Paris, Denise Dutton, Leslie Daugherty and Beth Bovaird. Also joining the board are (back row, from left) Joseph L. Parker Jr. of Tulsa, Cheryl Evans of Tonkawa and (back row, right) Rep. Todd Russ of Cordell. Not pictured is Matthew H. McBee of Poteau. The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a statewide charitable organization that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools.(Photo by David Wheelock)

“We are delighted to welcome these outstanding leaders to our Board of Trustees,” said Chairman David L. Boren, who founded the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence 26 years ago. “They each bring tremendous talents and a strong commitment to quality public education in Oklahoma, and we look forward to the many contributions they will bring to our foundation.”

Through its Academic Awards Program, the foundation has presented nearly $3.9 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 18th-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.

(EDITORS: New trustees are listed below by hometown.)

CORDELLTodd Russ is a state representative for House District 55, which includes Washita, Kiowa, Caddo and Canadian Counties. He is past president/CEO and vice chairman of Washita State Bank in Burns Flat. In 2008, he became principal partner of Summit Bank Consulting. Rep. Russ has served as director of the Oklahoma Bankers Association and chairman of the association’s Small Bank Council. He was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry to serve on the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority. Russ also has served as a past director of the Cordell Chamber of Commerce, the Washita County 2000 Economic Development Board, the Cordell Municipal Airport and on the advisory board for Western Technology Center for Business. He also has served on the Cordell City Council. The co-founder of the Burns Flat-Dill City Education Foundation, Russ served three years as foundation president. His wife, Khristy, is a 20-year educator and president of the Cordell Education Foundation.

POTEAU – Since 2006, attorney Matthew H. McBee has worked in private practice with his father, retired District Judge George McBee, at the McBee Law Firm of Poteau, where he specializes in real property, mineral fraud, guardianships, criminal law, probate and business organizations. Prior to opening the law firm, McBee served as deputy general counsel for Gov. Brad Henry. His duties included pardon and parole review, Amber Alert coordinator, extraditions and legislative review for criminal justice. He began his law career with a small law firm in Oklahoma City, focusing primarily on real estate law. A graduate of Emory University and the University of Oklahoma College of Law, McBee is active in the Oklahoma and LeFlore County Bar Associations, the Oklahoma Board of Corrections and the Poteau Planning Commission. He has also been active in the Poteau Rotary and the Holloway Inn of Court.

TONKAWA – Before becoming president of Northern Oklahoma College in June 2011, Cheryl Evans served 17 years at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. For the past seven years, she led the university’s Enid campus as dean. Prior to that, she taught media courses and chaired the communication department on the Alva campus, where she received many teaching honors. Evans is a member of the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals and a Leadership Oklahoma graduate, serving as program chair for Youth Leadership Oklahoma this past year. Among her many community activities, Evans serves on the Tonkawa and Ponca City Chamber of Commerce board, the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center Board, United Way, the NBC Bank Advisory Council and the Integris Bass Health Center Board. A Rotarian, Evans is a member of the Ponca City University Center Advisory Board, a member of Leadership Ponca City Class 2012 and a graduate of Leadership Greater Enid. She was recently recognized as one of the “Journal Record’s” Woman of the Year “50 Making a Difference” honorees.

TULSABeth Bovaird is a public relations and marketing consultant for many Tulsa businesses, organizations and performing artists. She currently serves as an agent and concert coordinator for father-son duo Donald and Barron Ryan, internationally known pianists. With degrees in psychology and educational psychology, Bovaird began her career in special education. She has worked as a consulting psychologist for Bullock and Bullock Law Firm in Tulsa and as director of vocational evaluation for Roosevelt Alternative School in Casper, Wyoming. An active community volunteer, Bovaird serves as vice president of the Circle Cinema Foundation and is a member of Junior League of Tulsa, Tulsa Town Hall, the University of Tulsa Arts & Sciences Board of Visitors and the Will Rogers Memorial Foundation. She also serves on the advisory board for TheraPetics Service Dogs of Oklahoma, the Tulsa Fire Department Community Panel and has been active in Tulsa’s Arts and Humanities Council.

Leslie Daugherty is manager of Growth Strategy and Development for Teach for America-Oklahoma. She was first recognized by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence during her senior year at Seminole High School in 1999, when she was named one of Oklahoma’s 100 Academic All-Staters. Daugherty earned degrees in business administration from Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma City University and served as a Human Resources advisor for ExxonMobil. In 2009, she changed the course of her career and was selected by Teach for America to teach English at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa. Teach for America is a national corps of top recent graduates who commit to teach for two years in urban or rural public schools. In 2011, the organization promoted Daugherty to its administrative staff.

Denise Dutton serves as assistant provost for Honors and Faculty Development at the University of Tulsa. A graduate of the University of Tulsa, Dutton also earned graduate degrees from Syracuse and Princeton University. Prior to joining the University of Tulsa, she taught political science at Missouri State University. Dutton is a member of the American Political Science Association, the National Collegiate Honors Council, and the Professional and Organizational Developers Network. Among her volunteer activities, Dutton serves on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma and volunteers for KIPP School of Tulsa. She is a member of Leadership Tulsa.

Leslie B. Paris, a senior vice president and 28-year veteran of Bank of Oklahoma, is responsible for the company’s community relations strategy in an eight-state region. She is a director and manages the Bank of Oklahoma Financial Foundation, the bank’s charitable organization that supports communities in their service area. She also coordinates the company’s in-kind contributions and employee volunteer efforts. Paris is chairman of the Leadership Oklahoma Board and is a newly appointed trustee of the Tulsa River Park Authority. She is past president of Resonance and the Tulsa YWCA Board of Directors and has served on the boards of Leadership Tulsa, Girl Scouts of Magic Empire Council, Oklahoma Caring Foundation, Oklahoma Heritage Foundation, Tulsa Area United Way, and Family & Children’s Services Advisory Board. Paris recently received the Newsmaker Award from Tulsa’s Association of Women in Communications. She has been named one of “20 Tulsans Who Care” by “TulsaKids” Magazine and received the “Journal Record’s” Woman of the Year Circle of Excellence Award.

Joseph L. Parker Jr. is chairman of Anchor Stone Co., a supplier of limestone aggregates used in road construction. On the state level, Parker serves on the boards of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the Oklahoma Innovation Institute, the Governor’s Task Force for Economic Development and the Nature Conservancy. In Tulsa, he has served on the boards of many civic organizations, including the Arts & Humanities Council, Junior Achievement of Greater Tulsa, Metro Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma Theatre Company, Philbrook Art Museum, the Salvation Army, Tulsa Ballet Theatre and the Tulsa Sports Commission. He has also been active in the Tulsa Area United Way.