The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have named five regional coordinators to help implement a new comprehensive college preparation program throughout the state.
The program, called Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), was established by Congress last year to fund state and local initiatives designed to better prepare students - especially those from low-income families - for college. Oklahoma was awarded approximately $20.5 million over five years for the program.
The coordinators will oversee day-to-day program activities in five Oklahoma geographic regions, including supervising three local school district coordinators in their regions in developing and coordinating professional development activities for teachers, distributing public awareness materials and helping school districts expand their college preparation activities.
"We have assembled a talented team to help us implement this program and provide greater educational opportunities to our young people," Chancellor Hans Brisch said. "The regional coordinators will make the program more efficient and enable us to better serve each region."
The five coordinators and their hometowns are: Sharon V. Brooks, El Reno; Cheryl A. Elias, Tulsa; Jolynn S. Horn, Chickasha; Beth Bailey Jones, Durant; and Elizabeth Roberts, Muskogee.
Brooks, who will work from Rose State College in Midwest City, will cover South Central Oklahoma. Brooks has served as a gifted and talented resource specialist at El Reno Schools and as assistant director of the Summer Enrichment Program at Oklahoma City University. One of her additional duties will be to expand the Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS), a free academic and career interest assessment system for eighth and 10th grade students, in Central Oklahoma.
Elias, located at the Oklahoma Department of Vocational and Technical Education in Stillwater, will coordinate activities in North Central Oklahoma. She formerly served as director of student activities at Tulsa Community College and as a counselor at TCC monitoring assessment and testing programs. She will also have additional duties expanding Oklahoma EPAS in the eastern part of the state.
Horn, the coordinator for Southwest Oklahoma, will be based at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha. She has served as a counselor for Chickasha High School and as an adjunct faculty member at Seminole Junior College. In 1987, she was named Teacher of the Year at Waurika.
Jones, assigned to Southeast Oklahoma, will work out of Southeast Oklahoma State University in Durant. Jones previously served as a high school teacher, coordinator of the Gifted and Talented Program for Boswell and a history instructor at SEOSU.
Roberts, based at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, will serve Northeast Oklahoma. She has worked as a family/school services specialist for Muskogee Public Schools and as a faculty member at NSU.
"GEAR UP provides an unprecedented opportunity for Oklahoma higher education to expand the range of programs and services we can offer our upper elementary, middle and high school students," said State Regents Chairman Bill W. Burgess Jr. "We look forward to working with these coordinators as they help build futures in school districts across the state."
The U.S. Department of Education awarded Oklahoma with a state GEAR UP grant totaling $20.5 million in August 1999. The grant has been matched by more than $25 million from state and partner resources. With funds totaling $45.5 million, GEAR UP receives 45 percent of total funding from the federal government and 55 percent from other organizations.