Stars of Education


McKenzie Hodge Named OKCPS Teacher of the Year!!

McKenzie Hodge is a 5th grade science teacher at Wheeler Middle School. She has taught at Wheeler since 2018 and has been an instructor with OKCPS for the entirety of her career. Hodge is known for her passion for developing students as “whole learners” and approached the challenge of the recent school year with excitement and tenacity.

“I am beyond honored to get to be part of future doctors, scientists, artists, musicians, and their educational journey, hoping that what they learned within our four walls, they bring with them into the world,” Hodge said. “With every student I have taught, I am convinced their hearts and minds are ready to make this world a better place, and they will do it!”

As the Teacher of the Year, Hodge received a cash award from The Foundation, a watch from BC Clark and the use of a brand new car for one year from Fowler Automotive. She will represent the district in the Oklahoma State Teacher of the Year competition.

“It is our honor every year to recognize our district’s amazing teachers,” said Mary Mélon, President and CEO of The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools. “Teaching is a challenging profession all the time, but given the challenges of teaching during the pandemic, we’ve seen our teachers step up and innovate to engage their students in all new ways.”

Quail Creek Elementary School’s Dana Chambers was honored as first runner-up, and Nichols Hills Enterprise Elementary School’s Cynthia Johnson was named second runner-up.


The nine finalists for this year’s award were selected from the district’s site teachers of the year, who were also recognized at the event.

The finalists included:

  • Dana Chambers: Quail Creek Elementary School

  • Rachel Farmer: Arthur Elementary School

  • Sally Hoch: Belle Isle Enterprise Middle School

  • McKenzie Hodge: Wheeler Middle School

  • Alicia Hunt: Cleveland Elementary School

  • Cynthia Johnson: Nichols Hills Enterprise Elementary School

  • Chara Patterson: Douglass High School

  • Don Stephens: Southeast High School

  • Kendra Whitman: John Marshall Enterprise High School

Outstanding Principal Awards

The Foundation for OKCPS also recognized Armando Ayala of Shidler Elementary and Jeanne Ambriz of John Marshall Enterprise High School, winners of the Sam and Charolet Outstanding Principal Awards. Each principal received a cash award plus $1,000 to use toward Partners in Action projects at their schools.

The Valuable Volunteer and Super Support Staff winners were also recognized during the event. Alicia Faye & Kris Goforth, Brian McKinney and Jane Sutter were honored as this year’s OKCPS Valuable Volunteers. Anna Kennedy, Principal’s Secretary and Registrar at Putnam Heights Academy, Galen Smith, Teaching Assistant at Arthur Elementary, and Stephany Meister, Parent Liaison at Wilson Elementary, were named Super Support Staff honorees.

OKCPS is blessed to have incredible educators and partners -- especially those honored today who have provided the care, connection and consistency our students and families needed most over the past year. It is their passion and creativity that continues to inspire all of us. So, on behalf of the entire district and our friends at the Foundation for OKCPS, I send our deepest appreciation and heartfelt congratulations to each of you for the difference you make in the lives of our kids each and every day. We are so lucky to have you as part of #TeamOKCPS!

2021 Finalists

Chara Patterson

Don Stephens

Kendra Whitman

Sally Hoch

Cynthia Johnson

Alicia Hunt

Dana Chambers

Rachel Farmer

McKenzie Hodge