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Bartlesville Public Schools

Posted: Apr 21, 2022 7:18 PMUpdated: Apr 21, 2022 7:31 PM

Bruins of the Year: Accolades and Smiles Abound

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Garrett Giles

The stars shine as Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation (BPSF) recognizes and honors teachers and support staff in baseball-style.

BPSF gave out several accolades, resulting in smiles at Bill Doenges Memorial Stadium – Rigdon Field during the fourth edition of "Bruins of the Year" on Thursday evening.

Pictured right: Bartlesville High School Physics Teacher Tonya Knollmeyer stands next to Bartlesville Public Schools Superintendent Chuck McCauley after she was announced as the winner of the District Teacher of the Year Award.

One of the awards up for grabs was "Teacher of the Year," as one teacher from each of the nine Bartlesville Public Schools sites was selected to represent their school. Teachers that won Teacher of the Year (TOY) at their school are as follows:


  • Lisa Tennell, Wilson Elementary TOY
  • Stacey Goodwin, Jane Phillips Elementary TOY
  • Hannah Michel, Ranch Heights Elementary TOY
  • Tonya Knollmeyer, Bartlesville High School TOY
  • Kim Hester, Hoover Elementary TOY
  • Dana Lyle, Wayside Elementary TOY
  • Jonathan Knopfel, Madison Middle School TOY
  • Lolly Williams, Central Middle School TOY
  • Lana Bell, Richard Kane Elementary TOY


The District Teacher of the Year Award went to Tonya Knollmeyer, a physics teachers at Bartlesville High School (BHS). Knollmeyer, who used to be an engineer, says the award is proof that changing to education was the right move. She says she loves her kids and the time she puts into her work.

People can be intimidated by physics. Knollmeyer says she doesn't want her students to be intimidate by physics, so she tells them that they are going to break down the problems together, learn everything about the problems, and ultimately make the problems easy to understand. She says her students are reviewing for AP tests and students cannot believe how easy it is for them to understand.

Knollmeyer says the best part about teaching is when her students "get it." She says seeing her students learning and getting it is the best part of teaching.

Knollmeyer thanks all who support her. She says the administration team at BHS is amazing because it is great when you go to work and love every day.

 As part of her award, Knollmeyer won tickets from Spears Travel. Knollmeyer says she doesn't know where she is going to go. She says she will figure it out

The public had the chance to vote for their "Fan Favorite Teacher" before and during the event. Monies raised during the event went to support Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation and its programs. Lolly Williams (pictured right) of Central Middle School would win the Fan Favorite Teacher Award. As the Fan Favorite Teacher, Williams won Chick-fil-a breakfast for all of Central Middle School, too.

Rising Star Teacher of the Year (RSTOY) was another award that was handed down on Thursday evening. The line-up is as follows:


  • Amber O'Dell, Wilson Elementary RSTOY
  • Jeannine Lee, Jane Phillips Elementary RSTOY
  • Carrie Brown, Ranch Heights Elementary RSTOY
  • Heidi Lischefski, Bartlesville High School RSTOY
  • Victoria DeBoe, Hoover Elementary RSTOY
  • Jonathan Miller, Wayside Elementary RSTOY
  • Jana Higgs, Madison Middle School RSTOY
  • Matthew Hildebrand, Central Middle School RSTOY
  • Klaire Linick, Richard Kane Elementary RSTOY


The District Rising Star Teacher of the Year Award was won by Bartlesville High School's Heidi Lischefski (pictured right). Lischefski says her mother passed away a couple years ago, but she knows without a doubt that she would be so proud. She says her mother used to teach kindergarten in Wisconsin. 

Lischefski's family rushed the field at the conclusion of the ceremony. She says she was so happy to have them there and to win the award.

The kids are the best part of teaching in Lischefski's eyes. Lischefski says she always has a great group of kids that she gets to teach each year. She says she loves her students, their stories and their antics.

Looking ahead, Lischefski says she is ready for the next school year after the fast approaching summer break.

Then there was the District Classified Person of the Year (DCPOY). That line-up is as follows:


  • Candace Biggerstaff, Wilson Elementary DCPOY
  • Dianne Stumpff, Jane Phillips Elementary DCPOY
  • Taylor Wilson, Child Nutrition DCPOY
  • Brittani Nix, Ranch Heights DCPOY
  • Seth Weimer, Bartlesville High School DCPOY
  • Jamia Mills, Education Service Center DCPOY
  • Ches Herrmann, Wayside Elementary DCPOY
  • Paul Williams, Madison Middle School DCPOY
  • Shelest Longnecker, Central Middle School DCPOY
  • Tara Silver, Hoover Elementary DCPOY
  • Ronald Larkin, Richard Kane Elementary DCPOY


The District Classified Person of the Year Award went to Candace Biggerstaff (pictured below).

Other awards include:


  • Rookie Teacher of the Year won by Larissa Hale
  • Secondary Rookie Teacher of the Year won by Christina Rigdon
  • The Kurt Schmoldt Appreciation Award won by Todd Rhodes
  • The Bartlesville Education Association Award won by Michael and Cindy Wray for giving back to education through service.


For a full list of Kurt Schmoldt Appreciation Award nominees and teachers that were recognized for their many years of dedicated service to Bartlesville Public Schools, click here.


District Classified Person of the Year – Candace Biggerstaff

Rookie Teacher of the Year – Larissa Hale

Secondary Rookie Teacher of the Year – Christina Rigdon

The Kurt Schmoldt Appreciation Award – Todd Rhodes

The Bartlesville Education Association Award – Michael and Cindy Wray

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