Oklahoma Excel

Champions of Excellence

Oklahoma Excel, part of the Champions of Excellence initiative, is a year-long professional learning experience open to all PK-12 teachers. Teachers within a district form teams and join a Networked Improvement Community (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 45 and 70 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.  

 Click Below to Watch Our Quick Intro!

Go Deeper

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

Meet the Team

Gena Barnhill - Mathematics Instructional Specialist

Gena Barnhill has been teaching elementary math for 15 years. She spent 13 years developing her skills at Rollingwood Elementary in Putnam City and 2 more years at Lakeview Elementary in Yukon. During this time, she worked on district curriculum development and training, the Oklahoma state math frameworks, and the math and science OSTP Item Review Committee. She has also presented at state math and science conferences. She received the 2018 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching and achieved her National Board Certification in 2020. Gena graduated from the University of Oklahoma with her Bachelor's degree and the University of Central Oklahoma with her professional teaching certificate. 

Andrea Chrisman - ELA Instructional Specialist

Andrea Chrisman joined Teach for America in 2008 and moved to the Bay Area to begin her teaching career.  She spent 8 years teaching literacy at some of the highest performing schools in San Jose and San Francisco. She recently returned home to Oklahoma and has spent the last 2 years teaching reading on the south side of Oklahoma City. This past year she served her school as the 4th-grade team lead and the ELA content lead. Andrea lives in Oklahoma City with her cat, Minnow, and when she isn't working, she enjoys reading thriller books, cooking, and listening to her records.

Magdalena Grifaldo - Early Childhood Instructional Specialist

Magdalena Grifaldo has served as an early childhood educator in Southwest Oklahoma City for 5 years. Prior to working for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Lena taught pre-kindergarten and kindergarten at Santa Fe South Schools. While at Santa Fe South, Lena led the early childhood education teams for both pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, coached teachers through fifth grade in creating and implementing strong mathematics practices in the classroom, and played a critical role in establishing the school site's after school program. After her corps service with Teach For America, Magdalena pursued and graduated with honors from the University of Central Oklahoma with a M.Ed in Educational Leadership in 2019 and attended Barnard College for her undergraduate studies. She remains involved and connected to the Teach For America and greater OKC community by serving as a board member for both the Alumni and Collective Boards for the TFA OKC region. Outside of work, you would find her gardening at home, visiting local restaurants and businesses, and catching up on the newest series. Born and raised in Dallas, TX, she currently resides in OKC with her husband and two cats.

Paige Kelpine - Science Instructional Specialist                                                             

Paige Kelpine has been in education for over 17 years. Prior to working for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Paige held positions as an Instructional Coach for Mustang Public Schools, a middle school science teacher for Mid-Del Schools, and an elementary teacher for Choctaw-Nicoma Park and Mid-Del Public Schools. During her time as a teacher and instructional coach, Paige provided instructional support for teachers at the local, state, and national levels. She also served on numerous site and district teams, mostly in the areas of science and math, focusing on the implementation of the Oklahoma Academic Standards, choosing high-quality instructional materials, and evaluating grading practices. Paige has provided professional learning around 3-dimensional standards and storylines to teachers in several states. Paige is a member of the Oklahoma Science Teaching Association (OSTA), the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). She earned an A.A. in Liberal Studies from Rose State College, a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Central Oklahoma, and is working to complete a M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction - Science Education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

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Last updated on November 9, 2022