The Grove Education Foundation for Excellence (GEFFE) has named two teachers and one principal as finalists for the annual Shining Star Award.  Teachers Terri Guthridge and Charlene Bailey and Lower Elementary Principal Sandy Harper were selected by the GEFFE board for the outstanding grant applications they submitted during the 2007 calendar year.  

The Shining Star winner will be announced at the GEFFE Gala April 5, at the Royal Bay Yacht Club and will receive a trophy and a $300 cash award.

Each spring and fall, the GEFFE board reviews and funds grant applications submitted by Grove schoolteachers and principals.  

From the grants awarded, the board selects the top three grant recipients whose creativity has promoted excellence in education.  This year’s nominees were selected from 32 funded grants.

Lower Elementary music teacher Terri Guthridge was nominated for her grant “Creative Diversity.”  With her grant of $1,350.00, Guthridge will be able to help students learn about other cultures through musical stories and world instruments through cross-curriculum, multi-cultural approach.  

Gutheridge has been teaching for ten years, all but one of which has been in Grove.  She obtained a degree in elementary education for Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.  She and her husband, Todd Gutheridge, have two children, T.J. who is 15 and Hannah who is 5.   

Gutheridge, who as been the Lower Elementary music teacher for several years, believes that her goal as a music teacher is to expand music beyond the “standard educational limits” so as to inspire imaginative and creative confidence in the students.

Fourth Grade teacher Charlene Bailey was nominated for her grant “Creating Student Teachers.”  The grant of $2,110 is based upon the premises that a student begins learning when a student begins teaching.  The goal of the program is to increase motivation, strengthen student’s learning skills and enhance retention of the subjects taught in her fourth-grade class.  Bailey has purchase materials and equipment which will be used to create “student” teachers.

This is the third year Bailey has been nominated for the Shining Star Award.  She was nominated for the award in 2005 and in 2004, she shared the award with four other teachers from the Grove Upper Elementary.

Bailey received her Master’s in education from Syracuse University. She taught in a one-room rural school on the Flathead Indian reservation and in a Christian kindergarten.  She served 17 years in administration as a county superintendent and principal of two elementary schools before moving to Grove.  For the past several years, Bailey has taught fourth grade at the Grove Upper Elementary.  

Bailey believes her role as an educator is to be the “premier learner” in her classroom.   When not teaching, she enjoys classical music, literature, ballet, fishing and spending quality time with her husband.

The last nominee is Lower Elementary Principal Sandy Harper who received $2,815 for her grant “Grove Lower Elementary Morning News”.  With her GEFFE funds, Harper is building a “news station” at the Lower Elementary.  The goal of the grant is to improve the students’ communication skills and build their self-esteem by show-casing the students daily on the school’s closed-circuit news program.  Students will take turns presenting school news, while other students will be highlighted for recent achievements or talents.  

Harper, who is in her first year as principal for Grove’s Lower Elementary, brings with her over 30 years of educational experience.  She taught for 12 years in first, second, third, fifth and sixth grades.  For the last 19 years, she has served in the administration arena.  She was an assistant principal for three years and principal for the last 16 years.

She graduated from Jay High School and obtained a bachelor’s of science degree in education from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.   She began working on her Master’s in 1987 at Northeastern and later pursued a Superintendent’s degree in 1999 from UCAT/OSU.

She is married to Rob Harper, an instructor at Oologah, and they have four children: Jacob, Jason, Travis and Christi.  Along with two daughters-in-law, Tasha and Darla, they also have three grandchildren: Jaxon, Tatum and Trey.

Since its inception ten years ago, GEFFE has awarded over $300,000 in grants to the Grove school system.  The April 5, 2008, fundraiser and banquet will highlight the achievements of GEFFE over the past ten years and acknowledge the generous donations of supporters throughout the same time period.  Tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased by calling Kristi Wallace at 787-3855.

GEFFE announces Shining Star finalists