Southwestern Professor, Four Others Receive Teaching Awards

Friday, March 23rd 2007, 12:26 pm
By: News On 6

WEATHERFORD, Okla. (AP) -- A Southwestern Oklahoma State University music professor is one of five winners of this year's Medal for Excellence in Teaching Award, which is presented by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.

James Breckenridge of Weatherford, Eileta Faye Creekpaum of Tulsa, Kathleen Blake of Edmond, Bobby Russell of Pauls Valley and representatives from Emerson High School in Oklahoma City will be honored during a May 19 banquet in Oklahoma City.

Each of the winners will receive a $7,500 cash award, with an additional $1,000 award going to the schools where the winners work. They also will receive a glass sculpture called "Roots and Wings," created by Oklahoma artist Ron Roberts and produced by Jim Triffo of Oklahoma City.

The awards are given annually to one teacher each at the elementary, secondary and college/university levels, to an elementary- or secondary-level administrator and to an alternative education program.

The 22-year-old foundation is led by University of Oklahoma President David Boren.

Breckenridge has worked as a professor of piano at Southwestern for almost 40 years and is "a tremendous motivator and exceptional manager and monitor of his students' learning," said Terry Segress, the chairman of the university's music department.

Creekpaum has been a kindergarten teacher at Robert E. Lee Elementary in Tulsa for 35 years. Blake teaches visual art at Edmond Memorial High School and has spent more than three decades in education.

Russell has been the superintendent of the Pauls Valley Public Schools since 2000 after previously working as the superintendent of schools in Seiling.

Emerson High School is the only alternative program in Oklahoma that maintains stand-alone accreditation as a high school, director Debra Thomas said.