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Oklahoma Excel


Oklahoma Excel, which is part of the Champions of Excellence initiative, is a yearlong professional learning experience open to all K-12 teachers. Teachers within a district form teams and join a Networked Improvement Communities (NIC) within a specific content area. Members of the NIC engage in continuous improvement cycles in their classrooms to implement and refine high leverage, evidence-based instructional strategies.  Teachers and teacher leaders who participate receive between 36 and 60 hours of job-embedded, sustained, data-driven, classroom focused professional development.  Participants also have access to on-site instructional coaching, resources and tools in an effort to bring about lasting improvement in their schools.  

                                    Watch our Quick Intro!



Meet the Team

Dawn Irons - Project Director

Dawn Irons recently moved into the Oklahoma State Department of Education's Office of Curriculum and Instruction as the Oklahoma Excel Director after serving in the Office of School Support and Improvement as a School Support Specialist. Prior to that, Dawn worked in Oklahoma City Public School's Professional Development Department as an instructional coach coordinator. Before moving to Oklahoma, Dawn spent ten years working as an elementary classroom teacher, peer evaluator and instructional coach in Tampa, Florida. Dawn holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in organizational leadership, instructional design and organizational training. Dawn resides in Oklahoma City with her husband and two dogs. 

Susan Wray- Science Instructional Specialist

Susan Wray is a twenty-six year veteran science teacher who is native to Oklahoma. Prior to working for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Susan taught elementary and middle-level science at Oakdale Public Schools from 1997-2019 and Broken Arrow Public Schools from 1992-1997. While at Oakdale, Susan was instrumental in implementing a STEM program, overseeing science curriculum and developing a spirit squad. Throughout the state, Susan has been a leader in science-- presenting at the Oklahoma Science Teacher Association conference, developing Frameworks for Science, and participating in Oklahoma science assessment development. She has dedicated herself to becoming a life-long educator, learner and leader.  

Lauren Jenks-Jones- Mathematics Instructional Specialist

Lauren joins the State Department of Education after serving as a Manager, Teacher Leadership Development for Teach for America-Oklahoma City, where she intensively supported more than 60 first and second year teachers in 20 school sites across Oklahoma City and Lawton. Prior to that, she taught Early Childhood Education at Oklahoma City Public Schools. In December 2018, Lauren earned her master's degree in educational leadership at the University of Central Oklahoma as part of the Emerging Leaders Scholarship Program, and holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Arkansas.  Lauren and her husband, Cody, reside in Oklahoma City with their two dogs. 

Sam Eiseman- ELA Instructional Specialist

Sam Eiseman most recently was the Founding Literacy Coach and member of the Leadership Team at KIPP OKC South Community Prep, a public charter school in South Oklahoma City.  In this role, Sam wrote the Literacy curriculum, directly supervised all Reading teachers, and provided intervention to students across the school.  Prior to becoming a Literacy Coach, Sam taught Reading and Writing at KIPP Reach College Prep in Northeast Oklahoma City.  He is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he majored in Sociology and Anthropology.  When he is not working with teachers and students to build a love of literacy, Sam is an avid San Francisco sports fan and an aspiring home cook.                                                                

Go Deeper

To learn more about the foundational research that has shaped the vision of this project, explore the database below.

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Last updated on April 23, 2020