Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence


Nov. 8, 2017 - Professional Development Grants Available for Carter County Teachers

by OFE | 2017-11-28 10:38:49

Public school teachers in Carter County can apply now through Dec. 15 for professional development grants sponsored by the Jerome Westheimer Family Foundation of Ardmore.

The 2018 grants are made possible through a $35,000 gift from the Westheimer Family Foundation, which is beginning its fifth year of support for Carter County teachers. The professional development grants are administered by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a nonprofit organization that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools.

The program is designed to enhance students’ learning by helping teachers attend top-quality regional, national and international conferences and institutes in their chosen fields. The grants help cover the costs of tuition, transportation, lodging and the expense of hiring a substitute teacher.  Applications and a list of suggested conferences are available on the Foundation for Excellence website at Applications must be postmarked on or before Dec. 15. Grants will be awarded by early January for teacher conferences and institutes scheduled in 2018.

“At a time when school budgets are stretched to their limits and funding for professional development is scarce, we are grateful to the Westheimer Family Foundation for its longtime commitment to quality instruction and providing Carter County teachers the opportunity for continuing education, which will benefit their students,” said Emily Stratton, executive director of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.  

Since 2003, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has awarded more than $1 million in professional development grants to benefit 664 Oklahoma teachers.  Program funding has been made possible by sponsorships from individuals, businesses and foundations across the state, including past support from the Community Foundation of Ardmore.

Kelley Simmons, a fifth-grade science teacher from Plainview Intermediate School, received a Westheimer Family Foundation grant in 2017 to attend the National Science Teacher Association Conference in Los Angeles. Simmons, who teaches 210 students, said the experience will enrich her teaching for years to come.

“My students will experience new learning about force and motion, the solar system, the states of matter and the variety of ecosystems,” she said. “The conference provided me new hands-on manipulatives; extended lesson plans that included science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics, and a variety of teacher resources. I’m excited that the knowledge and resources I received will continue to touch lives through the years.”

Teacher grant applicants must currently be employed as an elementary or secondary teacher in a Carter County public school. They must also have at least two years of teaching experience in Oklahoma prior to the conference for which the grant will be used. Each application requires a statement of support from the applicant’s principal.

For more information, contact the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence at (405) 236-0006 or visit the foundation’s website at