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October 8, 2012

Oklahoma foundation for excellence offers fall forum for public school foundation, youth mentoring leaders


The Express-Star

—  “Champions for Education” is the theme for the 2012 Fall Forum for Local Education Foundations and Youth Mentoring Programs, slated from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave., on the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus. Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 8 a.m.

 For 22 years, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has presented the Fall Forum as the state’s premiere event for school foundation leaders and school administrators seeking to improve the quality of public education in their communities. As part of its Boren Mentoring Initiative, the Foundation for Excellence will again include sessions on youth mentoring at the Fall Forum.

 University of Oklahoma women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale, who has led the Sooner women to six regular season Big 12 titles and four Big 12 tournament titles, will help tip off this year’s Fall Forum sharing her insights on public education and mentoring. Coale, who earned a United Nations Positive Peace Award in coaching, has made it her top priority to maximize the potential of her players on and off the court by encouraging academic excellence and service in the community. Coale herself was an Academic All-American who graduated summa cum laude from Oklahoma Christian University.

 Breakout sessions for school foundation leaders will include “Taking Fundraising to the Next Level Through Personal Solicitation,” “Fundamentals for New and Developing School Foundations,” “Low-Cost, Simple Strategies for Publicizing Your Organization,” “How to Build and Maintain a Great Board,” and “Keys to Successful Education Foundations: Best Practices.”  The foundation track will also include a networking session for foundation leaders and administrators to share ideas and experiences. This session will include a discussion on establishing endowed scholarships.

 Mentoring track sessions will include “Mentoring on a Mission: Models and Best Practices in Faith-Based Mentoring,” “How to Play Together in the Sandbox: Business Partnerships,” and “How to Do One More Thing Without Losing Sleep: Mentoring for School Administrators.” Also planned are a mentor-mentee panel discussion and a presentation on a successful rural school mentoring program featuring Rocky Burchfield, superintendent of Fairview Public Schools.

The Fall Forum will culminate with a luncheon presentation of the Outstanding Program Awards for Local Education Foundations. This year’s honorees are the Technology Initiative sponsored by the Claremore Public Schools Foundation and the Homeless Student Education Fund sponsored by the Mid-Del Public Schools Foundation. Medal for Excellence winning administrator Cindi Hemm of Tulsa will also speak at the luncheon about mentoring and community partnerships that helped bring success to her inner-city school. Hemm is the author of “Miracle on Southwest Boulevard: How to Turn a Low-Performing School Into a Place of Academic Excellence.”

 “We hope to follow this pattern with our Boren Mentoring Initiative to build a strong network of youth mentoring organizations in Oklahoma. Our Fall Forum provides an opportunity for school foundation leaders, mentoring leaders and school administrators to work together as champions for education, building better schools and a better future for our children.”

Fall Forum registration is $50 per person if received by Oct. 9 and $60 for late registration. Session descriptions and registration forms are available online at www.ofe.org. For more information, call Karen Rose, director of Local Education Outreach, at (918) 743-5533.