The Pawhuska School District’s new regime found a perfect way to launch its appreciation of public learning.

Prior to tackling difficult challenges brought on by current economic woes, etc., members of the newly-reorganized Board of Education started their Tuesday meeting with a ceremony recognizing the district’s 2016 Honor Teachers — comprised of an exemplary local trio which has already provided more than eight decades of quality classroom experiences.

This year’s Teacher of the Year is Sharon Hendren, a first-grade teacher at Indian Camp School whose 14 years in the district were preceded by a 17-year stint with the Head Start program. Overall, Mrs. Hendren has taught for 37 years.

"In addition to her regular duties, she also tutors four days a week," said Indian Camp Principal Beverly Moore. "Her dedication to the teaching profession is truly amazing."

Other Honor Teachers of 2016 are fourth-grade instructor Lynn Fuller for Pawhuska Elementary School and science teacher Sarah Kendrick at Pawhuska High School.

During the March 8 session, school board members selected Jeff Bute to be the new president. His nomination to the position was made by Justin Sellers, who had served as board president for the past six years. Chosen as the new vice president of the board was Christi McNeil. Patricia Counts was named to be the board’s clerk. Local school board meetings are held in the Administration Building board chamber at 1801 McKenzie Road.

Beginning a five-year term as the board’s newest member was Michael Tolson. A practicing attorney with deep ties to the local community, Tolson was voted on to the board in a Feb. 9 school election. He assumes the No. 1 Office that had been held, since 2008, by Lori Loftis. Although her term ended last month, Loftis (the outgoing vice president of the board) attended the meeting for her successor’s swearing-in ceremony.

After reciting an oath of office for newly-elected Board members, Tolson wasted no time in joining the other members in the handling of the school district’s operations. With a full slate of agenda items before it, the board moved into an adjoining chamber — in this case, the School Superintendent’s office — for executive session which continued for more than two hours. The nonpublic session allows for the board members to discuss matters involving personnel, etc., which are not proper subjects — due to privacy issues — in the public meetings.

Following is additional information on the Pawhuska School District’s 2016Honor Teachers:

A graduate of Oklahoma’s Northeastern State University, Sharon Hendren serves as a reading sufficiency and gifted/talented instructor. She also volunteers on the district’s textbook committee and as a new-teacher mentor.

Lynn Fuller earned an undergraduate degree at Baylor University and holds master’s degrees from Oklahoma State University as well as the University of Tulsa. She has spent nearly her entire 38-year professional career career teaching in the local district an currently serves on the Grad Level Reading Committee.

The third honoree is in her eighth year of teaching at the senior high. Sarah Kendrick serves as faculty sponsor for the Pawhuska High School Student Council. She also is a member of several school committee’s — including the Principal’s Advisory and Healthy, Fit and Safe councils. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.

In the course of last week’s meeting, a number of high-interest items were considered by the school board members. Among those were:

— the board voted to accept the resignation of Dr. Landon Berry, superintendent of the Pawhuska School District, at the end of the current 2015-16 school year. A few weeks ago, Berry revealed his intentions to take the school uperintendent’s position in Porum, which is his home town. According to Berry, the decision to relocate is due to personal issues involving the care of an elderly family member. He said he has enjoyed serving the Pawhuska community. Berry arrived here in 2012 after formerly serving as the superintendent in the Haskell School District.

— also accepted was the resignation, due to retirement, of Gerrie Craun, a longtime school psychologist and director of Special Education Services;

— another retirement-related resignation the board accepted is for longtime Title I educator Aliss Potts-Reed;

— a resignation also was received from Business/Technology teacher Susie Smith;

— after discussions, board members voted to re-employ an extensive slate of the district’s administrative personnel; other administrators (including the principals for each local school);

— a list of several teaching/administrative reassignments were also approved by the board.