Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence


Nov. 29, 2017 - Oklahoma Foundation for Excellences Announces New Board Members

by OFE | 2017-12-06 15:37:30

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 10 new members to its Board of Trustees.

             Appointed to serve three-year terms are Christa Hughes, retired educator, CARMEN; Jason Hitch, attorney, farmer and rancher, GUYMON; Linda Ammons Starling, retired educator, Moore Public Schools, MOORE;  Charlotte A. Jones, education consultant, Dr. Joe Siano, vice president of investment banking, BOK Financial Securities, NORMAN;  Dr. Ann L. Caine, director of education leadership, Oklahoma State School Boards Association, Andrew J. Morris, attorney, McAfee & Taft, OKLAHOMA CITY;  Kim Brock Downing, educator, Union Public Schools, Deanne Dutton Hughes, engineer, Third Branch Engineering and McElroy Manufacturing,  Laura Tilley, executive vice president of brand strategy, Littlefield Agency, TULSA.

           “It is our honor to welcome such exemplary community leaders to our Board of Trustees,” said Chairman David L. Boren, who founded Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence 32 years ago. “Our foundation and our commitment to quality public education in Oklahoma will be strengthened by their talents and contributions, and we look forward to their partnership with us.” 

          One of the keys to the foundation’s success is the leadership of its 180 trustees. They are leaders in business, education and public service, who represent every region of the state and help promote the foundation’s mission and its programs.

         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 $4.6 million in cash awards to honor outstanding public school students and educators. Through its Local Education Foundation Outreach Program, the foundation provides technical support, training and networking opportunities to 220 local education foundations across the state.

         Among its other initiatives, the Foundation for Excellence coordinates a summer fellowship program to send Oklahoma fifth- and eighth- grade teachers to the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute. Through its David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative, the foundation promotes quality youth mentoring as a positive step toward academic success.

        The foundation also administers Professional Development Grants for Teachers to attend national conferences and institutes, and partners with the national Fund for Teacher and the Tulsa Community Foundation to provide grants for self-designed summer professional development opportunities for teachers in locations around the world. Thanks to generous bridge funding from the national Fund for Teachers, 826 Oklahoma educators have received Fund for Teachers grants totaling more than $2.9 million since 2006.
(EDITORS: New trustees are listed below by hometown and place of business)

CARMEN – Christa Hughes is a retired educator.  She taught at Fairview Public Schools, Cherokee Public Schools and Northwestern OK State University.  Hughes serves as a trustee of the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System and is a member of the Carmen Chamber of Commerce and Carmen United Methodist Church.

GUYMON – Jason Hitch is an attorney and co-CEO and chairman of the board of Hitch Enterprises Inc., a multi-faceted production agriculture company. Now in its fifth-generation of leadership, his family’s enterprise contains 12 subsidiary companies, including Hitch Pork Producers Inc. of Guymon. Hitch is the vice chairman for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and serves on committees with the Texas Cattle Feeder’s Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Committee.  He also serves on the board of directors of Bank of the Panhandle and is a former board member for Leadership Oklahoma, where he graduated with the Class XVIII. In 2015, his law career was highlighted in the “Lawyers of Leadership” feature of the Oklahoma Bar Journal.
MOORE – Linda Ammons Starling is a retired educator from Moore Public Schools. She is a member of the Oklahoma Retired Educators Association and volunteer with the Oklahoma Student Inventors Exposition. She is active in the First United Methodist Church in Moore, where she leads as a member of the Charla Circle women’s group, a volunteer for the Exaltation Bell Choir and 5 Loaves Lunch for high school students.
NORMAN – Charlotte A. Jones is a retired educator and elementary school principal. Currently, she is an education consultant for the Moving UP project conducted by University of Oklahoma EDUTAS and the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Formerly the director of Local Education Outreach at the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, she helped start the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative. At OU’s K20 Center, she helped to develop the Oklahoma Mentor Network and advocated for the professional development of education professionals in the GEAR UP for SUCCESS program. Jones chairs the Educational Professional Division Advisory Council at the OU College of Education and is a member of the college’s Board of Advocates.  She is a member of the K20 Center Board of Advocates and former chair of the Oklahoma A+ Schools Board of Advisors, a member of the Norman Sooner Rotary Club, where she chairs the NEXUS committee and is a Paul Harris Fellow.  She is a member of LATINAS WIN (Women in Norman), where she volunteers to teach English.
               Dr. Joe Siano is the vice president of investment banking for BOK Financial Securities Inc.  He is a retired education administrator, having served the past 17 years as the superintendent for Norman Public Schools. He previously served as the assistant superintendent for Oklahoma City Public Schools, and in several administrative positions for Putnam City Public Schools. His professional memberships include American Association of School Administrators, Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, Oklahoma Association of School Administrators, the Oklahoma Association of School Business Officials and the United Suburban Schools Association. An active community member, he serves on the boards the American Heart Association and Junior Achievement, and provides leadership for Norman Public School Foundation, Norman Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Norman, Norman Sooner Rotary Club and Norman Business Association.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Dr. Ann L. Caine is the director of education leadership at the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. A stronghold in the education community for over 36 years, she served as a teacher, principal and most recently the superintendent for Stillwater Public Schools.  She is a member of the Cooperative Council of School Administrators and the American Association of School Administrators. In 2015, Dr. Caine was appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin to the Education Advisory Committee, a part of the Oklahoma Works initiative. She is a board member for the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, a member of the Leadership Oklahoma Class of XXIII, a board member for the Leadership Oklahoma Advisory Board and is vice chair of the Oklahoma County Metropolitan Library Commission.         
               Andrew J. Morris
is a trial attorney with McAfee & Taft and was honored by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in 2004 as an Academic All-Stater. Previously he was a project coordinator for Tulsa Community Foundation, assisting with their Partnership for the Availability of School Supplies program and the organization’s corporate emergency assistance programs. He is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg American Inn of Court and participated in the Leadership Council, Class III with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Recently he was honored as 2017 Attorney of the Year by the Central Oklahoma Association of Legal Assistants and was placed on the Oklahoma Super Lawyers’ list of “Oklahoma Rising Stars.”
TULSA – Kim Brock Downing is the School Psychometrist at Union High School in Tulsa.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Arts degree from University of Tulsa. She is an active board member for the Tulsa Figure Skating Club and is a figure skating judge.
              Deanne Dutton Hughes is the owner of Third Branch Engineering and new source product manager for McElroy Manufacturing Inc. She was honored by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in 1988 as an Academic All-Stater. She is a registered professional engineer in both Oklahoma and Texas and a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers and ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials). An executive committee member for the University of Tulsa (TU) Alumni Association Board, Dutton Hughes also serves on TU’s Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board. She is an Oklahoma Trustee for Nature Conservancy and is ScoreCard coach and a business member for Sustainable Tulsa. She is a founding member of the Juliette Low Leadership Society for Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma, a graduate of Leadership OKC Class XVI and president of the Booker T. Washington Swim Team Booster Club. She received the Frances Hesselbein Award in 2007 from Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma and was featured in the Journal Record’s “Fifty Women Making a Difference” in 2005 and 2006.
           Laurie Tilley is the executive vice president of brand strategy for Littlefield Agency, a brand development company.  She is the immediate past chair of Leadership Oklahoma; a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters State Board of Directors; executive board member of YMCA of Greater Tulsa; and co-founder and board member of Project Elf, a charitable organization that provides basic necessities to students in nearly 100 Tulsa area schools.