The Norman Transcript

February 13, 2013

Teacher with Norman ties attends State of Union


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — “The president’s speech was great. It was one of the best State of the Union speeches I think ever given,” said Oklahoma educator Susan Bumgarner, of Norman.

Bumgarner, an Oklahoma City teacher, attended Tuesday night’s State of the Union address with first lady Michelle Obama. She was invited to sit in Michelle Obama’s box during the speech Tuesday night.

The educator had a chance to meet Michelle and Barack and couldn’t say enough good things.

“It was so incredible, so amazing. They’re just so much bigger than life,” she said. “The president did commend us for the work we’re doing in Oklahoma when he talked to me.”

Bumgarner said as an early education teacher, the part of Obama’s speech that particularly resonated with her was about universal pre-K in Oklahoma. In the box, she had the pleasure of sitting next to Libby Doggett, spouse of U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who was one of the women who helped make everything happen.

“It was amazing to be sitting next to her on such a momentous occasion,” she said.

Overall, Bumgarner said she was stunned and impressed to be at the event.

“It was really, really impressive to be there and to realize that all of the most important leaders of our government were in the same room as me,” she said.

After the speech, the teacher said she and a group of people were taken from the Capitol back to the White House and felt as if she were in a parade of sorts.

“The streets were shut down and lined in police officers,” Bumgarner said. “And the president’s car and the vice president’s car were at that front of the caravan. There were lights flashing everywhere — it was like a parade, but there were no people to watch it.”

Bumgarner, who was recently nominated for Oklahoma City Public Schools teacher of the year, is currently a pre-k teacher at Wilson Arts Integration Elementary School. She has been teaching there since 1992 and has been an early educator in the Oklahoma system for more than 20 years.

Before being taken to the Capitol for the speech, she said she toured the White House and attended a reception.

Bumgarner is a University of Oklahoma graduate. She also has ties to The Norman Transcript. She said her great-grandfather moved from Texas to Norman and he was an early editor for the newspaper.

— By Jessica Bruha, Transcript Staff

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