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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:
-----------------------FROM THE CITY OF STILLWATER:
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


Dr. Marsh Howard has been selected to lead the Northern Oklahoma College Stillwater campus as the new vice president for NOC Stillwater and grant development for the college.
Howard currently serves as a member of the social sciences faculty at Northern Oklahoma College Stillwater, and is replacing interim vice president Wade Watkins.
Dr. Clark Harris, President of NOC stated, “I appreciate that Marsh has exceptional teaching skills and experience teaching at NOC Stillwater, as it gives him insights into the challenges that students and faculty experience on a daily basis. Marsh was awarded the NISOD Excellence in Teaching Award in 2018, and was the NOC Teacher of the Year in 2020.”
Dr. Howard will serve as a member of the NOC Executive Council and will report directly to NOC President Dr. Clark Harris. He will work collaboratively with faculty and staff across the NOC campuses and provide leadership in the planning, organizing, and management of the Stillwater Campus’ at NOC, a multi-campus institution with campuses in Tonkawa and Enid. Howard will also represent the institution to a variety of constituencies and promote the overall mission of the college; and will be responsible for ensuring the success of the NOC/OSU Gateway Program.  
“Dr. Howard’s commitment to the NOC/OSU Gateway program, the Stillwater campus and to first generation students will be essential to his success,” said President Harris. “His other professional experiences in higher education and in his psychology and human relations profession will be of benefit in this role. I look forward to having him as a member of Executive Council. He will bring new insights into the executive team.”
On top of his experience at NOC, Howard has worked at Rogers State University and at Potomac State College in Keyser, West Virginia.
Howard worked briefly for an adventure-based residential treatment center in Maryland before returning to Oklahoma for Doctoral program at OSU in Educational Psychology
He worked for Tulsa Boys Home as the Aftercare Coordinator and then as an Academic Advisor for Tulsa Achieves at Tulsa Community College before his teaching career began at OSU and NOC.
Howard received his master’s degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Human Resource Development from Northeastern State University.
Howard’s wife Mikael Howard is the librarian at Sand Springs 9th Grade Center. Their son Becket is a middle school student.  Howard’s parents, Jim and Lynn reside in Ponca City.  His hobbies include traveling, hiking, gardening, blacksmithing, and painting.



Stillwater Public Schools Board of Education approved Trent J. Swanson as the Chief Human Resources Officer at a special May 31 meeting. Janet Vinson, who is currently in the role, will become the Assistant Superintendent of SPS’s Educational Services in June.

In addition to Vinson staying with SPS, Bo Gamble, head of HR from 2020-2022, has remained with SPS as Assistant Superintendent of Operations. Swanson says he’s grateful for the unique opportunity to learn from and collaborate with the two previous HR administrators.

A native of Guymon, OK, Swanson has been an educator for 28 years and employed with SPS since 1995. After receiving a degree from Oklahoma State University in Secondary Education, he started his career at Stillwater Junior High School in a support staff position, then became a social studies teacher and coach. He went on to earn his Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction at OSU and served as the Activities Director and Assistant Principal at SJHS before moving into the role of Principal in 2002. For the past ten years, Trent has served as Principal at Lincoln Alternative Academy and recently completed his Doctor of Education Studies in School Administration at OSU. During this time, he has also served as the Director of SPS summer programs, coordinated the district attendance committee, and as a representative on district negotiations.

Swanson has been active with state educational organizations in leadership positions such as the Executive Committee Chairperson for the Cooperative Council of Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA) and President of the Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals (OASSP). He is currently on the state advisory board for the Oklahoma Alternative Education Association (OAEA). Locally, he is the Vice Chairperson and member of the Board of Trustees for the Payne County Child Welfare Advisory Committee.

The incoming HR officer says he is encouraged by the State’s recent show of support for public education, but there is much work to be done. "We have the opportunity to capitalize on new incentives to attract quality teachers and staff, but I am equally committed to ensuring a positive and supportive work environment geared toward retaining the outstanding SPS workforce that has propelled our schools and students to great heights," Swanson says.  "With Mr. Gordon’s open-minded leadership style, I believe we have a great opportunity for growth and innovation. Our ability to partner with a first class research university and career tech center place SPS in a position to continue leadership in educational outcomes and workplace development."

Swanson and Vinson will collaborate on the change of duties throughout June, with Swanson fully assuming his new role on July 1.



After an extensive search and vetting of exceptional candidates, the Perry Public Schools Board of Education has hired a new superintendent. Chad Wilson has been named superintendent for Perry Public Schools and will assume responsibilities on July 1.

Wilson has been the superintendent at Woodland Public Schools in Fairfax, Oklahoma for the past two years. Prior to that he was superintendent at Weatherford Public Schools for five years and assistant superintendent at Guthrie Public Schools for four years. Wilson began his 26-year career in education at Perry Public Schools in 1998 as a high school history teacher and boys basketball coach.

While at Weatherford, a class 4A school with a student enrollment of approximately 2,400 and 250 employees, the district passed a $54 million dollar bond issue with an 85% approval from the community to construct two new elementary schools.

“The school board reviewed a large selection of well qualified candidates, and we’re confident Mr. Wilson demonstrates the characteristics, expertise, and personality that the board, staff, and community are seeking,” said Perry Board of Education President, Jason Proctor. “He comes with enthusiastic recommendations from many former board members and administrators at his previous schools. We are looking forward to his leadership.”

Wilson has a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He is a 1990 high school graduate of Fort Cobb High School.

He and his family recently moved back to Perry and built a house. His wife, Maranda (Sheets) Wilson, is a Perry native, and they are excited to continue raising their children in Perry Schools. Their daughter, Payton will be a senior and son, Luke will be entering sixth grade at Perry Elementary.

Wilson shared, “My family and I chose Perry for several reasons. At the top of this list, we want to be in a community that values education, to be close to our family and friends, and most importantly, the traditional values this community holds."



The Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved a $24 million contract to widen a portion of State Highway 33 in Logan County to four lanes.

The next phase in widening the SH-33 corridor to four lanes will be between Langston and Western Ave. just west of US-177 in Payne County.

SH-33 traffic is estimated at 6,900 vehicles on average per day.

Work is expected to begin in late summer 2023 with anticipated completion by fall 2025, weather permitting. OBC Inc. was awarded the bid.

This phase will add four bridges and the earthwork to build the roadbed for the additional two lanes. The bridges will be over the Cimarron River, Fitzgerald Creek, Wildhorse Creek, and the Wildhorse Creek overflow.

The two new lanes will be completed in a second project currently scheduled for FFY 2025 at an estimated nearly $29 million.

These two projects combined will complete the widening of the corridor between Perkins and Guthrie, which provides a second, four-lane alternate route to and from Stillwater. The projects also will improve safety, visibility, and site distance for traffic traveling SH-33.

Transportation officials said most of this work will occur parallel to the existing highway. Motorists should be watchful for heavy equipment entering and exiting the highway.


Mayor Will Joyce and fellow Councilors have agreed the best way to move forward with possible funding options for a new Animal Welfare facility and other much-needed public safety concerns should be determined by voters on November 14, 2023.

The Animal Welfare facility will be presented as a general obligation bond and the Public Safety District proposition (per SB 838) would be collected in the same manner as ad valorem taxes.

Mayor Joyce included, “the State Legislature has wisely allowed us to diversify our revenue sources, and our community has the opportunity to take action to lessen our reliability on sales tax for essential public safety functions.”

Deputy City Manager Melissa Reames shared that the Public Safety Protection District could be used to purchase police and fire vehicles and apparatus.

Reames said the Animal Welfare facility was inadequate in 1984 when it originally opened and the need for a new facility is just as much a people issue as an animal issue.

“Our Animal Welfare staff are more than adoptions and surrenders, they serve as code enforcement,” included Deputy City Manager Reames. “A new facility is required to meet the community’s current needs and to increase services for more education and health/safety efforts.”

Reames included that there will be multiple opportunities for community discussion and input and that the facility is part of, “T.I.M.E. – Together Investing in Municipal Excellence,” Stillwater’s initiative for collaboration between City and residents to identify needs and funding sources.

City Administration, Engineering, Police and Fire departments will move forward collecting information, scope of needs, estimated costs, and other details for City Council consideration. Resolutions will be presented to Council in July.

Additional information will be added online as it is available:

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