SPS Board Highlights

Jan. 13, 2020

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January 2020 School Board Recognition Month

Shawnee Board of Education members were honored for School Board Recognition Month. Board members are, from left, Mark Betterton, Keith Sandlin, Bobby Canty, Larry Walker, Misty Heath, April Stobbe and Kristen Wilson.

Jefferson Elementary Recognized

During the recognition of Jefferson Elementary School, Principal E.J. Mynhier described some of the efforts she and her teachers are making to help their students. Following a belief that what makes a difference in the life of a child is the presence of a caring adult, Jefferson Elementary has instituted several new initiatives to help students form healthy, supportive relationships with teachers and peers.


One initiative is the reinstatement of morning recess, a time in which students can "get their wiggles out" before classroom time begins. The school is also using a Reset Room for students who need a break from the classroom setting. The Reset Room is a place where students can learn and practice skills that will help them form successful relationships with others.


Ms. Mynhier also introduced four specials teachers who are using an initiative called "Free-Choice Friday" to give students chances to choose what they want to learn and where they want to learn it for one hour each week: DeeDee Hall, art; Thresa Swadley, music; Leslie Gothard, library; and Robert Licklider, P.E. A video showing highlights of some Free-Choice Fridays was shown to the board. Some of the choices include team-building activities in P.E., singing and playing instruments in music, reading and making in the library, and creating and crafting in art. Ms. Swadley told the board that she has noticed an improvement in student behavior due to Free-Choice Friday because more students are seeing their teachers as trusted adults. Mr. Licklider said another benefit to Free-Choice Friday is that students are taking on responsibility in the choices of learning that they make, and the students are always engaged in their learning.

Central Office Reports

During Dr. April Grace's report to the board, she said she could not thank the Board Members enough for their service and for their gift of their personal time to Shawnee Public Schools. She also mentioned


  • Child Nutrition Director Maria Isenhower was one of only three school nutrition directors from Oklahoma selected to attend USDA’s Produce Safety University (PSU) for the week of April 20-24, 2020, in Atlanta, GA.
  • SHS Senior Marleigh Merrell was selected to serve on the Oklahoma State Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council.
  • Horace Mann celebrated being Blue Zones Project Approved on Dec. 17.
  • Shawnee Middle School won the Mayor’s Walking Challenge. SMS Students walked 5,995 miles and burned more than 400,000 calorie.

Dr. Grace also invited all the Board Members to attend the Shawnee Teacher of the Year celebration on Feb. 4.

Board Reports

Board President Larry Walker encouraged everyone to visit the FFA small animal barn. He announced how proud he was that Shawnee Public Schools had been recognized as a Top Workplace for 2019 by The Oklahoman. He also stated how excited he was to see the Shawnee High School swim team's success, including several school records broken by swimmers such as Piper McNeil and Brodie Morris.

Other Board Business

  • All consent docket items were approved.
  • The Board voted to start the contract process with Mass Architect, Inc., for architectural services associated with the New Shawnee Public Schools Elementary Project.
  • The Board approved agreements/contracts with Gordon Cooper Technology Center for academic course offerings and sophomore student enrollment, and with Frontline Education for employee absence and substitute management, recruiting, and hiring.
  • The Board approved an employment contract with Dr. April Grace, superintendent, that includes an additional contract year (through the 2021-2022 academic year) and a salary increase.
  • All certified and support personnel were approved as presented.

Board Agendas Available Via Public Link

Current Shawnee Public Schools Board of Education meeting agendas are available at our public link. Board meetings are usually scheduled for the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Board Room located at the SPS Central Office, 326 N. Union.