Oklahoma City Attorney Jami Rhoades Antonisse Named Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence President
October 22, 2020 (Oklahoma City) – Oklahoma City attorney Jami Rhoades Antonisse has been elected president of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a statewide nonprofit that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools.
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 flagship Academic Awards Program, the foundation has presented more than $5 million in cash awards to honor outstanding public high school seniors as Academic All-Staters and to recognize innovative educators as Medal for Excellence winners. Through its Oklahoma School Foundations Network, the foundation provides training and networking opportunities to more than 200 public 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 statewide mentoring initiative, the foundation promotes quality youth mentoring as a positive step toward academic success. The foundation partners with the national Fund for Teachers and the Tulsa Community Foundation to provide grants for self-designed summer professional development opportunities for teachers in locations around the world. This year, the foundation launched the Teachers of English Learners Pilot Project, an online learning and networking platform to support classroom teachers in elementary schools with high enrollment of English Learners.
Since 1987, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and its partners have invested more than $12.1 million in teacher grants, scholarships and awards directly benefiting Oklahoma public school teachers and students.
Antonisse was one of five seniors from Midwest City High School to be selected to the foundation’s inaugural class of Academic All-Staters in 1987. She earned her bachelor’s degree in French from Georgetown University, her master’s degree in library science from the University of Maryland, and her juris doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. She is a partner in the law firm of Miller & Johnson, PLLC.
A self-described “groupie” of public school teachers, Antonisse was proud to be one of the “Girl Attorneys” who marched on the Oklahoma state capitol during the Teacher Walkout of 2018. She said she supports OFE’s mission because “Oklahoma students deserve the very best we can give them — roots and wings. By promoting excellence in education, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence invests in our state’s future in a very meaningful way.”
Antonisse has served on the foundation’s Board of Trustees since 2009 and was a member of the Fund for Teachers selection committee and the Academic Awards Banquet planning committee for several years. In 2016, after chairing the Academic Awards Banquet for the second time, she was presented with the foundation’s Distinguished Service Award.
“Through my long association with OFE, I have found so many excellent mentors and dear friends who share my commitment to lifelong learning and community service,” Antonisse said, upon being elected foundation president. “I am especially proud that 18 other Academic All-State Alumni, including President-Elect Andrew Morris, are serving with me on the foundation’s Board of Trustees, and I invite other alumni to join us in supporting public education in Oklahoma.”
Antonisse is also active with the Mid-Del Public Schools Foundation, the P.E.O. International Sisterhood (Chapter EI, Midwest City), and the Georgetown University Alumni Association. She and her husband, Col. Richard H. Antonisse (ret.), are the parents of two sons, Hunter, a student at the University of Illinois College of Law, and Evan, a student at American University in Washington, D.C.