Paula (Pitchlynn) Steeper Named to BPS Foundation’s Educator Hall of Fame

Ms. Paula Steeper, known to many during her teaching career as Paula Pitchlynn, was born and raised in Bartlesville.  She attended several Bartlesville elementary schools, including Highland Park, Will Rogers, and Wilson elementary schools.  She transitioned to Madison Junior High before graduating from College High with the Class of 1964. After high school, Ms. Steeper attended Oklahoma State University.  She worked her way through college, serving as a secretary at State Farm Insurance for several years, working in the OSU print shop, and working as sales representative for United Electric Supply in Bartlesville during the summers. After graduating from OSU in 1968, Ms. Steeper was a student teacher with Vivian Oaks at Will Rogers Elementary.  

Her independent career as a teacher started in 1968, teaching second grade at Dunbar Elementary in Tulsa. During the summers, she taught Head Start at Lowell Elementary in Tulsa and moved into the first grade at Dunbar Elementary in 1969.  Ms. Steeper taught several first grade classes, including one for special education students.  Through this experience, she worked with her supervisors to pilot a Title program for children with special needs.  

After several years in Tulsa and a short stint in Fort Smith, Ms. Steeper began teaching in Bartlesville Public Schools.  She taught for Bartlesville for 28 years.  She spent the first five years teaching 3rd and 5th grades at Highland Park, before moving to Ranch Heights Elementary in 1984 to spend the rest of her career teaching 4th and 5th grades.  

Ms. Steeper’s students describe her as “firm, but fair.”  She expected the best from her students and they appreciated her for that.  Ms. Steeper had a way of finding students who needed her help and cultivating close relationships with them, built on mutual respect and trust.  

Today, Ms. Steeper resides in Coffeyville, Kansas.  She has one daughter.  Unfortunately, due to the progression of Ms. Steeper’s Parkinson’s Disease, she is unable to attend this event in person, although she is honored and humbled to receive this recognition.  

The Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation has been investing in students and staff members within the district since 1985. Over the decades, the non-profit organization has funded more than $3.9 million in creative projects outside of the traditional state, local and federal sources to support state-of-the-art instruction. The money generated by the Educator Hall of Fame event on April 4, 2024, will help fund the organization’s programs.