Executive Director, (405) 236-0006, Ext. 13
Emily is a founding trustee of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and joined the staff as executive director in 1999. As executive director, she oversees administration, programming and fundraising. Prior to joining the foundation, Emily served as director of development and communications for the University of Oklahoma Max Weitzenhoffer College of Fine Arts. From 1987 to 1996, she was executive director of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce. Emily serves on the boards of OU’s Jeanine Rainbolt College of Education and the OU School of Dance and is active in the Downtown Rotary Club of Oklahoma City, where she was named Rotarian of the Year in 2009. She is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma and has served on its Board of Directors. Emily is a founding member of the Oklahoma Arts Institute and the Clinton Public School Foundation, for which she served as interim president. She earned her bachelor’s degree from OU, majoring in English and minoring in math and French.
Executive Assistant, (405) 236-0006, Ext. 10
Rachel joined the foundation staff in 1995. In addition to managing the day-to-day operations of the office, she administers the selection processes for academic awards and early American history teaching activities. Rachel earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in Irish studies from the Catholic University of America.
Director of Communications and Development, (405) 236-0006, Ext. 11
Brenda, who joined the foundation staff in 2002, oversees the foundation's communications activities and its annual giving and Academic Awards Banquet direct mail fundraising campaigns. In addition, she serves as staff liaison for the foundation’s Early American History Education programs. A University of Oklahoma journalism graduate, Brenda served more than 10 years on the news and publications staff of OU Public Affairs and was editor of OU’s alumni and staff publications. She has been a reporter for United Press International and the Daily Oklahoman. Brenda has been a longtime leader of the Cleveland County CROP Walk to Stop Hunger and volunteer for Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma. She serves on the advisory board for OU Women's & Gender Studies Program. She is the recipient of the Norman United Way Volunteer of the Year Award for Service to Youth and Education and the City of Norman Human Rights Award.
Communications and Program Outreach Specialist, (405) 236-0006, Ext. 12
Sara joined our staff in the fall of 2017. In addition to coordinating the foundation’s teacher professional development activities, she promotes the foundation’s mission and its programs through the creation of print and digital communications and coordination of other marketing strategies. Sara carries a passion for nonprofit communications and the creative process - particularly writing, photography, and layout and design. Prior to joining the foundation, she served as a communications specialist for the Center for Children and Families and Norman Community Church of the Nazarene in Norman. A graduate of Southern Nazarene University, Sara holds a bachelor’s degree in human relations and masters of business administration degree, and professional photographer certification from Oklahoma School of Photography.
Director of Oklahoma School Foundations Network, (405) 236-0006, Ext. 18
Katy joined our staff in 2019. A National School Foundation Association Certified Education Foundation Leader, Katy provides technical assistance and training to Oklahoma school foundation leaders and groups seeking to establish foundations in their communities. Katy is a board member and immediate past president of Wilson Arts Inc., a nonprofit school foundation that supports Wilson Elementary School in Oklahoma City. Leffel has also gained nonprofit experience through her work as board chair, vice chair and governance chair for Skyline Urban Ministry in Oklahoma City. A former science teacher for Putnam City Schools, Leffel earned her Bachelor of Science in Science Education in 1998 from the University of Iowa and her Master of Education, Administration, Curriculum and Supervision degree in 2003 from the University of Oklahoma.