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TULSA, Okla. – Tulsa Public Schools announced the district’s 2021 Teacher of the Year and 2021 Support Employee of the Year at a special celebration event on Thursday.

The district named McKinley Elementary School teacher Donna Ross as the 2021 Tulsa Public Schools Teacher of the Year and Patrick Henry Elementary School paraprofessional Heather Mackey as the 2021 Support Employee of the Year.

“We are thrilled for Donna and Heather to represent our district as the 2021 Teacher of the Year and 2021 Support Employee of the Year,” said Superintendent Deborah Gist. “As we prepare to wrap up an unprecedented school year, our teachers and support professionals continue to go above and beyond to serve our students. We are so excited to honor our amazing teachers and support professionals at this year’s event.”

Teacher’s association congratulates winners

The Teacher of the Year and Support Employee of the Year awards are the culmination of a process beginning in the fall when a teacher and support employee are selected from each school and some district sites.

“We have the most amazing teachers who are making such a difference in the lives of our children,” said TCTA President Shawna Mott-Wright. “After an incredibly difficult year, this is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate these dedicated educators, and we are so proud of Donna and all of the finalists.”

When it comes to paraprofessional Heather Mackey, American Federation of Teachers President Nancy Leonard said the first thing that comes to mind is joy. “Heather is always bright and happy no matter the situation or circumstance and constantly demonstrates a relentless focus on ensuring that every child and family has the tools and supports that they need to be successful,” Leonard said. “I am incredibly proud of all of our finalists and know they will continue to go above and beyond to serve the Tulsa Public Schools family.”


In March and April, five finalists were chosen from both groups:

Teacher of the Year finalists:

  • Dennis Burns, broadcast and digital media instructor at Webster High School;
  • Craig Hoxie, health science and physical science teacher at Booker T. Washington High School;
  • Donna Ross, fourth-grade teacher at McKinley Elementary School;
  • Jacqui Walker, seventh-grade math and science teacher at Thoreau Demonstration Academy; and
  • Joey Williams, middle school teacher at Tulsa Virtual Academy.

Support Employee of the Year finalists:

  • Rita Botello, cafeteria manager at Marshall Elementary School;
  • Sandra Johnson, principal’s secretary at Walt Whitman Elementary School;
  • Heather Mackey, paraprofessional at Patrick Henry Elementary School;
  • Kristi Peterman, paraprofessional at Positive Changes; and
  • Vertula Rentie, principal’s secretary at Monroe Demonstration Academy.

The winners and finalists will receive prizes sponsored by Donnie Duntley of Creating and Managing Wealth, LLC, TTCU Federal Credit Union, and the Foundation for Tulsa Schools.

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...

One reply on “Tulsa Public Schools names Donna Ross as 2021 Teacher of the Year”

  1. Congratulations to Donna! Proud to stand next to her in the state and can’t think of a better teacher to represent Tulsa at this important time.

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