The BPS Foundation hosted its baseball-themed Bruins of the Year event to recognize outstanding district staff on Thursday, April 21. Tonya Knollmeyer was named the 2022 Bartlesville Public Schools Teacher of the Year. She teaches AP and Inquiry Physics and Active Chemistry. Knollmeyer told Bartlesville Radio that she used to be an engineer and the award was proof that changing to education was the right move for her. She received a monetary award and two Southwest Airlines tickets courtesy of Spears Travel.
Lolly Williams, Central Middle School’s 2022 Teacher of the Year, was named the “Fan Favorite” at the event, which was held on Rigdon Field at the Bill Doenges Memorial Stadium.
Heidi Lischefski, who teaches Environmental Science at Bartlesville High School, was named the district’s 2022 Rising Star Teacher, an award for teachers with one to four years of experience.
The Teachers of the Year and Rising Star Teachers from each school were honored, with each Teacher of the Year introduced by a current or former student. Service pins were awarded for certified employees with 5-35 years of district service. Cheryl Fentress, the only recipient of a 35-year-pin, teaches Honors Biology I and Physical Science at Bartlesville High School, and received a standing ovation.
This year the event expanded from honoring teachers to honoring the district’s support staff as well, incorporating the annual Classified Person of the Year award. Candace Biggerstaff, the attendance secretary at Wilson Elementary School, received that recognition for 2022.
The Bartlesville Education Association presented its Friend of Education Award to Michael and Cindy Wray, who have been active volunteers for many district events for years, with Michael already on the field taking most of the photos you see here.
Todd Rhoades, a Gifted and Talented Education teacher serving elementary students across the district, received the 2022 Kurt Schmoldt Teacher Appreciation Award.
The district’s Elementary Schools Rookie of the Year was Larissa Hale (at right in photo), a fifth grade teacher at Wilson Elementary.
The district’s Secondary Schools Rookie of the Year was Christina Rigdon (at left in photo), who transitioned this year to the certified role of counselor at Central Middle School.
The Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation (BPSF) and school district’s Professional Improvement Committee sponsored the event. The BPSF shared many event photos on its Facebook page and thanked presenting sponsors Arvest Bank and Patriot Chevrolet; Grand Slam Sponsors ConocoPhillips & Manhattan Construction Company; All-Star Sponsors First Investment Corporation, Musselman Abstract Co., and Perspective Advisors; Home Run Sponsors Equity Bank and Inco Electric, Inc.; and Trading Card Sponsor The Schmoldt Family. The BPSF and the district also appreciate The Schmoldt Foundation for Education, Spears Travel, Sodexo Child Nutrition Team (catering), The Eatery (sweet treats), Margie Green and the BHS Jazz Choir (service pin introductions), Chris Batchelder (announcer), Maria Gus (emcee), Trey Stumpff (sound), Josh Waddell (Fan Favorite Award designer), Mia Archambo (event prep), United Linen (linens), Wade Kester (printing), Truity Credit Union Print Shop, and Michael Wray (photos and more).