Sue Reynolds Named to Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation’s Educator Hall of Fame

Although Sue Reynolds taught home economics throughout most of her 55 year career in education, it was always about more than the lessons: her focus was on developing relationships with her students. Her investment in those relationships is what made her an exceptional educator and led to her being selected as one of four retired Bartlesville Public Schools educators to be inducted into the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation’s Educator Hall of Fame this spring.

Raised in the small town of Panola, Oklahoma, Reynolds always knew she wanted to be an educator. She earned her associates degree from Eastern Oklahoma State College in 1963 and her BS in Home Economics from Oklahoma State University in 1965. She did graduate work in education at OSU and Central State University. 

Shortly after graduating, she accepted a position in Copan as the home economics teacher. She taught there for five years before accepting a home economics position in 1970 at College High (later Bartlesville High School). Little did she know that she would stay at the high school until she retired in 1998.  

Throughout her twenty-eight year tenure, the courses she taught were referred to collectively as “Home Economics” and later, “Family and Consumer Science.” The content covered a broad spectrum of valuable information and skills including topics in child development, budgeting and finance, housing, nutrition and food preparation, consumer issues, as well as textiles and apparel.  

In addition to teaching in the classroom, Reynolds was a club advisor for Future Homemakers of America, spending memorable time with her students at competitions across the state. She also served as the Chair of the Vocational Home Economics Department for Bartlesville Public Schools for nine years and was a leader in the Oklahoma Vocational Association. During her extensive career, she also served on several local and state curriculum committees and supervised student teachers.

When reflecting on her time as an educator, Reynolds says she felt called to teach. She took the opportunity to positively influence her students very seriously. She got to know students on a personal level, investing in their lives and showing up for them in and outside of the classroom. Reynolds would regularly attend her students’ athletic events, and fine arts performances, often bringing her husband and sons along. Going above and beyond for her students resulted in many of those students viewing her as more than a teacher — she was their mentor and friend. 

Because she recognized the importance of parents and community involvement, she periodically invited guests into her classroom to share their skills with her students. She would host events where her students would prepare holiday dinners and invite their families and teachers to experience the skills Reynolds had taught them. She and her husband, Jim, even hosted student dinners at their home over the years.

Her passion for teaching did not go unnoticed. In 1986, she received statewide recognition as the recipient of the Oklahoma Helen Jensen Award for Outstanding Vocational Home Economics Teacher. In 1989, Reynolds was recognized as the Bartlesville High School Teacher of the Year and named District Teacher of the Year. Reynolds humbly attributes much of her success to the teachers she worked with who “made her look good.” 

Immediately after retiring in 1998, Reynolds returned to the classroom as a substitute for another 22 years, often spending up to 100 days a year teaching. When not in the classroom during her retirement, Reynolds served as a long-time docent at Woolaroc with her husband, Jim.  Currently, she is involved with the Washington County Retired Educators, Birthright, and her church. She is also involved with the HOPE Medical Clinic, Alpha Delta Kappa and Delta Kappa Gamma, with the latter two awarding scholarships to graduating seniors. Reynolds loves cheering on the Bruins basketball team and attends as many games as she can. She and Jim also enjoy traveling, both internationally and within the US. The Reynolds have two sons: Travis and Brandon. Both sons are proud products of the Bartlesville Public Schools and have remained in Oklahoma for their careers.  

The Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation has been investing in students and staff members within the district since 1985. Over the decades, the non-profit has funded more than $3.8 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. Courtesy of the BPS Foundation and ConocoPhillips, a $1,000 grant in Mrs. Reynold’s name will go to the BPS Agricultural Program.  

This event is open to the public and tickets are available for $35 through the BPS Foundation’s website.