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Stillwater's First News with Bill Van Ness

Conversation opened. 1 read message. FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:FROM THE-------------------------FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:
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FROM OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY:FROM Oklahoma State University President Kayse Shrum and First Cowboy Darren Shrum have been named grand marshals of OSU’s 2022 Homecoming festivities by the OSU Alumni Association.FROM OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSFROMM

The A&M Board of Regents announced the appointment of Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson as the seventeenth President of Langston University. Dr. Jackson’s selection follows an extensive eight-month national search that attracted several qualified candidates.

“Dr. Jackson’s appointment underscores her exceptional leadership and vision for our institution. During her tenure as Interim President, Dr. Jackson maintained continuity and stability and managed to build momentum. Her unwavering commitment to Langston’s mission and her ability to navigate critical transitions have been commendable. We are confident that under her guidance, Langston University will excel,” commented Board Chair Joe Hall.  

Dr. Jackson served as Vice President for Academic Affairs prior to assuming the role of Interim President in July 2023. Prior to advancing to the Vice Presidency, she also served as the university’s Associate Vice President for Student Success. Dr. Jackson’s association with Langston University began in 2014 as Dean and Professor for the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences.  

Before joining Langston University, she spent 11 years at Louisiana State University in Shreveport as a faculty member, graduate program director, and department chair. Before transitioning to higher education, Dr. Jackson worked as a high school English teacher, assistant principal, and principal in public education.

“I am honored to lead Langston University into its next chapter,” commented Dr. Jackson in response to her appointment. “I love this university and believe in its faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Our mission must be focused on empowering students, celebrating student success, and contributing to the betterment of Oklahoma and beyond. Together, we will build upon Langston’s legacy and create a future where excellence knows no bounds.”

“As a proud graduate of Langston University, I wholeheartedly applaud the selection of Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson as our next President. Her admiration for our beloved institution and the excellent job she did as interim President have been truly remarkable. Dr. Jackson’s leadership embodies the spirit of Langston, and I am confident that she will continue to elevate our university to new heights,” commented Sherman Lewis, a distinguished Langston University alumnus and member of the Langston University Presidential Search Committee.

“Our search for a new president attracted an impressive pool of candidates, which is a testament to Langston University’s potential and the importance of its mission. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson on her selection as the next President of Langston University. We appreciate the support of the members of the search committee and the Langston University community as Dr. Jackson leads the university to new heights,” commented A&M Regent Billy Taylor, who chaired the Presidential Search Committee.


Stillwater Tax Apportionment Report, April 2024

The collection is based off of February transactions that were reported to the Oklahoma Tax Commission in March and apportioned to the City in April.

    April 2023 GENERAL SALES TAX COLLECTION: $1,596,297
    INCREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $49,548 (3.10%)

    INCREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $24,774 (3.10%)

    April 2023 SUA SALES TAX COLLECTION: $798,148
    INCREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $24,774 (3.10%)

    April 2023 USE TAX COLLECTION: $385,961
    INCREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $25,614 (6.64%)

    April 2023 VISITOR TAX COLLECTION: $95,680
    DECREASE FROM PREVIOUS YEAR: $2,879 (-3.01%)

Go to the City’s Financial Center for more information about the budget and taxes and monthly reports for sales, use and visitor tax:


The Friends of the Stillwater Public Library’s spring used book sale will take place April 18-21. The volunteer-run biannual sale offers thousands of books, DVDs and CD books covering all genres and reading levels that range from 25 cents to $1. Purchases must be made with cash or check, and all sales are tax-free.

Proceeds from the sales support myriad library programs and services, including summer and winter reading programs and prizes, new books, community reading events and much more.

Stacy DeLano, library director, said the sale launches on Thursday, April 19, with a “Preview Night” from 5-8 p.m. It costs $10 at the door to enter and get the first pick of items. The one exception is for individuals who have purchased a lifetime membership – they may enter free of charge. Shoppers at the preview have a limit – they can buy 100 items total, including 50 children’s items. Holly Hartman, long-time Friends of the Library member, notes that this is a change from previous years.

The book sale opens to the general public with no entry fee charged on Friday, April 19, from noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Like last year, the Stillwater Arts Festival will be taking place next door on these dates, so the library suggests that book sale shoppers be prepared for the area to be busy.

Some possible areas for parking include Southern Woods Park, the Community Center and the First Methodist Church. Parking will be unaffected on Thursday and Sunday.

The ever-popular $1 bag sale starts Sunday, April 21 at 1:30 p.m. and runs until 4 p.m. Attendees fill entire bags of books of their choosing for $1 per bag. The Friends provide the bags and do not limit shoppers on the number of bags that can be purchased.

The Friends of the Library always need extra volunteers to help with the sale. Anyone interested in volunteering for the book sale should contact the Help Desk by emailing or calling (405) 372-3633 x8106. Librarians will connect volunteers with the Friends of the Library’s volunteer coordinators.

Visit for information about the sale and the Friends of the Stillwater Public Library. For more details about the Stillwater Arts Festival, go to

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. Library hours are Monday- Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Online enrollment for Pre-K students and any new K-12 student joining Stillwater Public Schools for the first time during the 2024-2025 school year is underway. Families that are entirely new to SPS will be prompted to complete an enrollment form, while those who already have SPS children in the district can login to their campus portal accounts to register.

Any family enrolling a student new to the district will need a copy of the child’s birth certificate, their shot record, and proof of Stillwater residence – a lease, mortgage statement,  or utility bill – to upload during enrollment.

A big part of the annual new student enrollment process is the influx of around 300 pre-kindergarten students. These students must be four years old by September 1, 2024, and must live within the SPS district boundaries. If a family is enrolling a child into the district for the first time at the kindergarten level, that child must be five years old by September 1.

The district encourages families with new Pre-K students to enroll as soon as possible to help ensure placement at their school of residence – the assigned elementary zone in which they live.

Incoming enrollment applications are time-stamped when the proof of residence, birth certificate, and immunization records are uploaded, with students being placed at their school sites in the order received. Enrollments may be delayed if the needed documents are not attached.

Families of Pre-K enrollees will be notified on May 1 about the status and location of their child’s placement. This will allow families to know their status sooner than in previous years and to make alternative arrangements if there was no space in the district’s program. It will also help the district and principals manage staffing levels before the summer break.

Anyone with questions or concerns about enrollment should contact the principal at their school of residence or the district office.

Families in need of interpretation and translation services during the enrollment process should email Stephanie Coca at for assistance.

More information about enrollment, SPS, and its programs can be found at


Stillwater Public Schools announced three teachers as finalists for the district Teacher of the Year - Jenny Bobo, Rebecca Palmatary, and Mary Beth Talley.

Jenny Bobo
Stillwater Pioneer Virtual Academy, Virtual Secondary Teacher
Oklahoma State University graduate, joined SPS in 2009

Currently, Bobo teaches at the Stillwater Pioneer Virtual Academy and says it feels like where she was always meant to be. “The ability to connect with students in this innovative setting has been incredibly rewarding. This role also affords me the unique position to collaborate with educators from across the district, allowing us to utilize both of our disciplines to create an ideal outcome for each of my students. As educators, I believe it is only through collaboration that we can achieve the best outcomes for our students.”

Rebecca Palmatary
Stillwater Junior High School, STEM & Computer Science Teacher
Oklahoma State University graduate, joined SPS in 2006

Throughout her time teaching in Stillwater Public Schools, Palmatary says she’s been fortunate to experience a diverse range of educational roles and opportunities – a formative student teaching experience under the mentorship of the Mrs. Fox at Westwood, time spent teaching Pre-K, a decade-long tenure in fourth grade, and five years of Gifted Education, culminating in her current role at teaching STEM and Computer Science at Stillwater Junior High.

Palmatary says she also pursues ways to impact students outside of her classroom responsibilities. “During the summer months, I've dedicated my time to various educational initiatives, including teaching at Meridian Technology Center during their Technovation Days and serving as both a Computer Science instructor for first-generation college-bound high school students and a kids coding camp instructor at Oklahoma State University. I also take great pride in being one of  the creators of the annual Indian Education Summer STEM camp, which provides unique learning experiences for students.”  She has also worked to offer extracurricular opportunities for students, including after school technology classes, and coaching in various capacities. Currently, she serves as the coach for the Stillwater Junior High Cheer Squad, and oversees five Junior High Robotics teams, and two High School Robotics teams.

Mary Beth Talley
Sangre Ridge Elementary, Pre-K Teacher
Oklahoma State University graduate, joined SPS in 2005

Talley has spent her entire teaching career in Stillwater.  “I love the people here!  I was not born and raised here in Stillwater, but I fell in love with this town when I came here to college.  It is a wonderful community to raise my two children in, and it is here that I have made lifelong friendships.” She has taught Pre-K at both Sangre Ridge Elementary and, for  two years, at the district’s Golden Oaks intergenerational Pre-k program.  In 2021, she obtained her National Board Certification in Early Childhood Education.

Following a January announcement of their titles, eleven SPS site Teachers of the Year submitted portfolios for review by a selection committee made up of former SPS Teachers of the Year, who identified these three finalists. Now teachers across the district will vote for the  candidate of their choice. The results, combined with an interview with three community members  will determine the Stillwater Public Schools District Teacher of the Year.  

“Out of more than 400 teachers in the district these three have really distinguished themselves,” says Superintendent Uwe Gordon, “Considering the outstanding teaching that I know goes on in the schools I have the honor to serve, that’s truly outstanding. It was touching to visit the teachers at work and see the reactions on their, their coworkers’, and their students’ faces. These three make a difference everyday, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Other SPS school site Teachers of the Year are:
    Highland Park Elementary- Leah Silver - Fourth Grade Math & Science
    Richmond Elementary - Grace Anne Fath - Special Services
    Skyline Elementary - Jennifer Crosthwait - Kindergarten
    Westwood Elementary - Angela Edwards - Pre-K
    Will Rogers Elementary - Tony Martin - Music
    Middle School - Tracy Bell - Mathematics
    High School - Elizabeth Ziegler - Theatre
    Lincoln Academy - Shandi Treat - English Language Arts

The district winner will be announced this April and then have the opportunity to compete against teachers from across the state for the title of 2024-2025 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

ABC News


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