Current Shawnee Middle School Assistant Principal Kim Paxson was voted by the Shawnee Board of Education on Monday to serve as Principal of Sequoyah Elementary School for the 2019-2020 school year.

According to Shawnee Public Schools Public Information Officer Cherity Pennington, Paxson has served as assistant principal at SMS since 2017 and her tenure includes four years as an art teacher at Will Rogers and Shawnee High School.

"Paxson was named SPS Teacher of the Year for 2015. She was also one of 12 finalists for Oklahoma State Teacher of the Year," Pennington said.

Paxson is a SHS alum, Oklahoma Baptist University art education graduate and received her Masters degree in Educational Leadership from East Central University in 2016. She is a Nationally Board Certified teacher and throughout her career has received $22,000 in grant funds.

In addition to hiring Paxson, the School Board honored staff members with 20 and 40 years of service to SPS as well as those educators retiring.

Staff members with 20 and 40 years of services included: Horace Mann clerical staffer; Ardrey Effinger, Sequoyah child nutritionist; Deborah Nagle, Early Childhood Center kindergarten teacher; Pamela Hodges, Horace Mann Title I teacher; Rosemarie Bushong, Central Office clerical staffer; Nancy Brooks, Horace Mann third grade teacher; Tammy Keller and Jefferson third grade teacher; Caria Kennedy.

Those retiring included: SHS special education teacher; Eugena Swofford, Will Rogers crossing guard; Norma Smith, Early Childhood Center kindergarten teacher; Charmé McCabe, district testing coordinator; Kendal Copeland, bus driver; Richard Butler, SECC kindergarten teacher ; JoAnne Abel and Will Rogers library media specialist; Shelley Wall.

Meggan Wilson introduced Special Education Project Coordinator Bethan Langlois who honored Sequoyah for achieving Oklahoma Tiered Intervention System of Support (OTISS) Model Site Status for the third year in a row. OTISS is Oklahoma’s intervention model for identifying and addressing academic and behavioral difficulties that interfere with Pre-K-12 student success.

Wilson also introduced SPS Coordinator of Special Services, Gretchen Slate, who, as chair of the district's professional development committee, told the board the results of a faculty survey on professional development preferences.

"Slate noted that the SPS faculty overwhelmingly responded to the survey and have shown a strong commitment to engaging in professional development activities," Pennington said.

Superintendent Dr. April Grace gave her monthly report recognizing SMS seventh grader Clara Timmons who placed first in individual performance at the Oklahoma National History Day contest, Shawnee FFA member Kaylee Peace who was awarded her State FFA Degree and the Ag-Ed Career Passport, the Shawnee Wrestling Road Crew who took first place in the high school division of the OKC Memorial Marathon Relay, SHS who received the $65,000 Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust grant from the K20 Center which will be used for technology and professional development, the SHS Wind Ensemble who received superior ratings on stage and sight reading at the 6A OSSAA state contest and students from Will Rogers Elementary School who placed third with their performance of a song in the Seventeenth Annual Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair at Sam Noble Museum. She also informed meeting attendees that this week, May 6-10, is Teacher Appreciation Week.

Board member Misty Heath also thanked Grace for attending the Native American Senior Banquet last week where all SPS Native American seniors were presented with a tribal stole that they'll wear during graduation.

The board approved all consent docket items and contracts including a bid for a bus with specialized features for special needs students, a new SHS Reading Fundamentals elective course, funding, agreements with other institutions, new hires and other standard items.