NORMAN — Noble Public Schools held its ninth annual awards and recognition banquet, Thursday. A crowd of approximately 200 people attended the ceremony at Curtis Inge Middle School where awards were given for longevity and outstanding performance as well as District Teacher of the Year. Betina Jones-Parra, math teacher at Noble High School, was named District Teacher of the Year, sponsored by First State Bank.
“I’m incredibly proud. This is an awesome school district and I’m happy to represent our teachers,” Jones-Parra said. “My mom and dad would have loved this,” she added, referring to her deceased parents.
Jones-Parra is passionate about her students. She told the story of a student, Beth, a pseudonym, who is a “unique, strong, individual.” During a parent teacher conference, Jones-Parra suggested to Beth’s parent that an additional math class would benefit Beth as she enrolled in college. Beth’s parent said Beth wasn’t college bound. Jones-Parra said she went home and cried for her student who had so much potential, but whose parent didn’t think so.
“We all need our Beths to nurture them and send them on their own individual paths to greatness,” Jones-Parra said. Passion for students and the work they do doesn’t end with Jones-Parra. Many other NPS employees share it.
Cecilia Peterson, custodian, and Dot Lee, registrar, both won Support Person of the Year awards. Peterson expressed her excitement.
“It’s very exciting,” Peterson said. “I got tricked into going to the banquet. It’s a really good feeling that people think of me that way. I love the kids.”
Lee echoed Peterson’s sentiment.
“I’m very humbled. I was very shocked. I just know so many other support personnel in the district that work hard all the time and are pulled in so many different directions. There’s just so many people in the district who work so hard,” Lee said, adding that the reality of it “just hasn’t soaked in.”
Brenda Lee, administrative assistant to the superintendent, said the Noble Public School Foundation for Academic Excellence awarded $7,000 in grants to fund educational endeavors.
Administrator of the Year went to Nathan Gray, Hubbard Elementary Principal. The Hall of Fame award went posthumously to the Burkett family who were all “graduates and educators,” Lee said. The Burkett family had a combined 350 years of teaching experience. They all graduated from Noble and came back to teach. The Living Hall of Fame award went to Ray Philpot who grew up and attended Noble schools, graduating in 1967.
“He’s never stopped caring,” Peterson said. “He lost his mom at a young age and a couple of teachers took him under their wing and he never forgot. Helping out is his way of thanking those who mentored him.”
Site Teacher of the Year awards went to Lori Sanden, Katherine I. Daily Elementary; Heather Wustenfeld, John K. Hubbard Elementary; Amanda Wilson, Pioneer Intermediate School; and Deanna Wyche, Curtis Inge Middle School. Cassie Huddleston was honored as a National Board Certified Teacher.
Five-year longevity honorees include Patricia Awtrey, Susie Carter, Jennifer Black, Jennie Wright, Felicia Savage, Neal Carpenter, Doug Carter, Chris Henager, Juanita Henager, Denise Howe, Davida Aguiar, Jennie Black, Megan Cole, Julie Gorton, Betina Jones-Parra, Robin Maxwell, Lori Sanden, Colin Webb and Deana Wyche.
Ten-year longevity honorees include Tamra McElhaney, Denise McMillian, Patty Shepherd, Melissa Blankenship, Nathan Gray, Cassie Huddleston and Kim Romero.
Fifteen-year longevity honorees include Darla Collins, Tammy Hayes, Brenda Lee, Denise Fuchs, Julie Harris, Staci Robinson, Shea Webster and Amie Whithead.
Twenty-year longevity honorees include Ellen Powell, Ivan Riggle Jr., David Ezell, Laura Harmon, Liz Benson, Linda Baront, Jane Carpenter, Linda Flynt, Diane Hawkins, Cheryl Mitchell and Susan Winkler.
There was only one 25-year honoree, Roger Eads.
Thirty-year longevity honorees include Mary Hainline, Montez Johnson, Shirley Jennings and Vicki Ward.
Retirees who were honored include Beverly Brown, Eva Dunn, Montez Johnson, Raymond Roden, Jerry Russell, Betty Thomas and Betty Tinney.