Vickie (Barthelemy) Droz Named to Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation’s Educator Hall of Fame

Vickie Barthelemy Droz worked tirelessly for her students. If you passed by the school parking lot early in the morning or late in the evening, you would likely see her car. She was often the first one in and last one out – preparing her room, making lesson plans, and grading papers. Her dedication and commitment to ensuring that her students reached their potential earned her a spot as one of four retired Bartlesville Public Schools educators being inducted into the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation’s Educator Hall of Fame this spring.

Droz grew up in Fairfax, Oklahoma as part of a large family. Her father struggled with health issues and eventually passed away when Droz was a sophomore in high school, forcing Droz’s  mother to set an example of hard work from early on by raising Droz and her two brothers while working twelve hour days in a sewing factory. Droz’s mother imparted that work ethic to Vickie. When Droz was in high school, she had the opportunity to shadow a kindergarten teacher in the Fairfax schools. That experience confirmed for Droz that she wanted to be a teacher, and she turned her focus to how she was going to get there.  

She graduated from Fairfax High School at seventeen. Being without sufficient financial resources to pay for college, she agreed to work part-time as a counselor for Northeastern State and take out student loans to fund her education. During the first few weeks of classes she slept in her car until she found a friend to take her in, but she was determined to make it work. Four years later, she graduated with her degree in elementary education and a minor in Home Economics.

Droz started her career in 1968 as a student teacher at Wayside Elementary and made a great impression there before taking a full-time teaching job at Caney Valley in 1972. She taught kindergarten and first grade in Caney Valley until fellow inductee, David Boone, who was principal at Wayside Elementary at the time, invited her back to Bartlesville to teach first grade. Droz taught first grade at Wayside for twenty-one years and then transitioned to Hoover Elementary to teach fourth grade for fourteen more years. She retired from Hoover in 2011.  

Mrs. Droz had high expectations for herself and her students. She ran a structured classroom and found that the more effort she expected from her students, the more effort they would give. She modeled self-discipline and a strong work ethic by being well-prepared for her lessons and giving her students her full attention throughout the day.  

Droz wasn’t all business: she characterized herself as “fair but fun.” She utilized creative techniques to engage her students in the curriculum and build a true love of learning, especially when it came to reading. She understood the importance of being a strong reader and emphasized the same with her students. Droz was also known for tirelessly advocating for the kids in her classroom. She would push to get them the resources they needed, such as explaining to parents why their daughter should take the assessment for the gifted and talented program or by working with a non-english speaking family of an ELL student.

When reflecting on the challenges of her career, she spoke about how difficult it was to maintain a balance between her work and home life. Droz struggled not to take the classroom home with her, but it was not easy — whether she was finishing paperwork at home or letting student issues weigh on her mind and heart long after she left her building. Her compassion and determination were recognized by her principal and colleagues when they named her Hoover’s Teacher of the Year in 2003. 

Droz was also busy outside of the classroom during her teaching career and after retirement.  She and her husband, John, married in 1995. Between them, they have five children, fifteen grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Two of their five children live in the area. The other three reach from Sapulpa, to Kentucky, to North Carolina. Vickie and John love hosting family gatherings, camping, fishing, and working in the yard. Although several teachers and administrators have asked Droz to substitute teach over the years, she values the slower pace of retirement too much to return to the classroom.  

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. Droz’s name will be split between Hoover Elementary and Wayside Elementary.  

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