This year’s finalists for the Grove Education Foundation for Excellence (GEFFE) Shining Star Award have nearly 60 years of combined teaching experience in public education.

Kindergarten teacher Kathy Daigle, Middle School Science teacher Donna Deason, and Upper Elementary counselor Amy Kreutz were selected by the GEFFE board for the outstanding grant applications they submitted during the 2008 calendar year. 

The Shining Star winner will be announced at the GEFFE Gala April 4, 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, counselors, 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 30 funded grants.

Lower Elementary teacher Kathy Daigle was nominated for her $796 grant entitled “African Adventures.” The goal of her grant was to introduce children to different cultures using materials related to the African heritage.  The materials purchased with grant funds will allow Daigle’s students to experience the traditional food, music, dance, literature, dress, games, language and heritage of Africa.

 “One of my goals as a teacher is to make learning exciting for students through immersion and hands-on activities,” Daigle said.  “This grant will allow me to pursue that goal with my students.”

While Kathy Daigle is a first-time Shining Star nominee, she is no stranger to GEFFE, having received numerous grants in the past 11 years.  Daigle, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education from Oklahoma State University, began teaching in Grove in 1986. She previously taught in Oklahoma City, Moore, Afton and Commerce and has 30 years of teaching experience.

Daigle has been married to Joel Daigle for 28 years.  They have two grown children, Kelsey Rossman and John Daigle and two grandchildren, with a third grandchild on the way.

Upper Elementary counselor Amy Kreutz is also a first-time Shining Star nominee.  She received a $363 grant for “Peer Puppetry.”  Her grant will allow fifth grade students to write and direct puppet shows based on the character traits of respect, responsibility, caring, fairness, trustworthiness and citizenship.  The students will then perform the puppet shows to students at the Early Childhood Center. 

 “I hope to guide my students in a positive direction by teaching them the importance of making good decisions,” Kreutz said. “I hope to help students become persons of character while giving them academic tools and coping skills to deal with the ups and downs of life.”

Kreutz received her Bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of Oklahoma, and her Master’s in guidance and counseling from the University of Central Oklahoma. She has spent seven years as a teacher and seven years as a counselor.  She was a special education teacher and a sixth-grade counselor at Whittier Middle School in Norman, before moving to Grove.

 Kreutz is married to Bobby Kreutz, a middle school principal in Miami. They have two young children, Chase and Abby.

Middle School Science teacher Donna Deason is a former Shining Star winner. In 2003, she shared this award with fellow science teacher Ed Trumbull for their grant funding the GEFFE Greenhouse. This year’s $1,741 grant was for “Seeing is Believing.” The grant allows Deason to purchase a digital microscope, which students will utilize during their regeneration studies.  Students will compare various types of antioxidants and their effects on the regeneration of worms.

 “I can’t even begin to tell you what GEFFE has meant to me,” Deason stated. “It has given me the chance to bring many more ‘hands-on’ activities into my classroom. The grant that funded the Greenhouse allowed the science department to fund many supplies needed for our very successful science fair.”

Deason received a degree in elementary education and middle school science education. She also has degree in medical lab technology.  She began her teaching career in Noel, Missouri before moving to Grove in 2000 and is in her 16th year of teaching.

Deason is married to pharmacist Carl Deason and they have five children, Christy, Andrea, Brandy, Destry and Tonya.  They have six grandchildren, with a seventh grandchild on the way.

Since its inception eleven years ago, GEFFE has awarded nearly $500,000 in grants to the Grove school system.  The April 4, 2009, fundraiser and banquet will highlight the achievements of GEFFE over the past 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.