Facebook Twitter K1-TEXT Email Print


Bartlesville Public Schools

Posted: May 04, 2021 4:39 PMUpdated: May 04, 2021 7:19 PM

Three Inducted into BPS Foundation's Hall of Fame

Share on RSS


Garrett Giles

Three former Bartlesville teachers were inducted into the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation's Educator Hall of Fame on Tuesday afternoon at the Bartlesville Community Center.

Marilyn Blackburn and Sandy Bliss were inducted in the 11th class of the BPSF Educator Hall of Fame. Betty Turk was inducted posthumously. Here is a look at the inductees:

Marilyn Blackburn

Blackburn was introduced by her daughters during the BPSF Educator Hall of Fame.

Blackburn said she was honored and thankful to have been inducted into the Educator Hall of Fame. She said she cherished teaching beyond her ability to put it into works.

To Blackburn, children are a gift to society. Blackburn thanked the thousands of parents that entrusted her with their children during her career in education at Oak Park Elementary and Ranch Heights Elementary Schools. She said she wants to be the teacher when her students look back on their education that they would feel love in their hearts, have a smile on their face, and would truly know that she cared

Blackburn said our public schools are endangered and asked the crowd to vote for candidates and bills that support public schools. She thanked the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation for their support of teachers and students.

Born and raised in Copan, Blackburn grew up loving to work with children. Blackburn helped at Bible School and opted to train as a teacher at Northeastern State University. She began her teaching career in Ft. Gibson and Ochelata before coming to Bartlesville. Oak Park Elementary was graced with Blackburn's passion for education for 25 years before she moved to Ranch Heights Elementary for seven more years, where she was a Teacher of the Year.

Blackburn still keeps education in front in her activities in retirement, from retired educator groups to Alpha Delta Kappa Honor Society, church, alumni groups, book club and the Salvation Army.

Sandy Bliss

Cassy Marlar and Jonell Douglas introduced Sandy Bliss.

Bliss said she treasures her years as a teacher in Bartlesville. She said she was proud and honored to receive the Educator Hall of Fame induction.

For over 35 years, Bliss taught special education, including eight years of service at Bartlesville High School and 14 years at the Mid-High.

Bliss' parents were family friends with a couple who had a son with cerebral palsy. She said she found he understood much more than he could communicate and watched him light up when her family visited. She recalled that he loved football and Elvis, and how he had a sparkling personality with a big smile.

The call to a career in special education came to Bliss the summer before her senior year at Owasso High School. Bliss' mother had her volunteer at Children's Medical Center in Tulsa. On her last day there, Bliss said some intellectually challenged kids were enjoying ice cream. She said one girl was about to lose her dip of ice cream, but she would help feed the girl. As the grateful child smiled at her, Bliss said she felt God speak to her heart, telling her that was how she was meant to serve. She said she joined Future Teachers of America and went on to earn a degree in Special Education from the University of Oklahoma. 

Bliss spent a decade teaching the most challenging special education students in the Sequoyah district, earning a Master of Science degree in Applied Behavioral Studies from Oklahoma State University. She spent another three years teaching learning-disabled students in Owasso before coming to Bartlesville to work with students with severe and profound needs. She enjoyed the challenge of working with students who at first glance might appear to be unable to do something identifying methods and techniques to allow them to learn and express their knowledge.

Special Olympics was also a joy for Bliss, who was the head coach in Bartlesville for decades. Bliss witnessed students doing their very best, earning ribbons and medals that boosted their self-confidence and sometimes changed family perceptions on what the children could do. Teachers and paraprofessionals recalled how Bliss was a mentor to them and labored long on lesson plans and Special Olympics.

Betty Turk

Introducing and receiving the honor on behalf of Betty Turk was Bob Pomeroy.

Pomeroy, a former student of Turk's, said she was a passionate advocate for critical thinking and she embraced a belief in an education system that pursued excellence in reading and writing skills and honors and open-minded disclosure. He said he will remember Turk for her undying patience, kindness and skill in taking a scallywag like him and helping understand the importance of reading many different authors

Turk encouraged her students to free up their minds and think outside the box. Pomeroy (pictured left) said Turk was the first person that helped him appreciate poetry, and she would encourage everyone to take a shot at writing poetry and/or short stories. He said that appreciation of literature remains with him 60 years later. Regardless of the circumstances, Pomeroy said Turk found a way to reach each of her students. 

Turk came to Bartlesville in 1946 after teaching for five years in Missouri. Turk taught English Literature and Speech at College High School for 27 years. She went on to consult at the district's alternative school, teach at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, tutor non-English speakers, and serve on civic committees and boards. She retired over 45 years ago.

Pomeroy said she inspired her former students to establish a scholarship program in 2008 that has grown to provide four $1,000 scholarships each year to deserving graduating seniors. Turk passed away in 2008.

ConocoPhillips Grants

Each year during the Educator Hall of Fame, each inductee receives a $1,000 grant to designate to Bartlesville Public Schools as they please. Marilyn Blackburn gave her $1,000 grant to Ranch Heights Elementary. Sandy Bliss designated her $1,000 grant to Bartlesville High School's Special Education Department. And on behalf of Betty Turk, $1,000 was granted to the BHS Language Arts Department.

Teacher Testimonials

The Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation's Educator Hall of Fame acts as a fundraiser for BPSF. As part of the fundraising effort, teachers gave testimonials about how your support helps them educate Bartlesville's youth in exciting and engaging ways.

Danial Karnes with Bartlesville High School talked about the new broadcast courses at BHS and how grants were able to allow his students to learn more about the broadcasting world. The program has been around for two years and has garnered three grants during that time. Karnes said the most recent grant allowed them to purchase a drone for their students to get aerial shots while learning how to use the gadget. He added that he will be taking a course that'll help him create a solid curriculum for his students as well. BruinTV has been created through this program, which can be found on YouTube

Leah Dennis and Julie Eide of Richard Kane Elementary School expressed their gratitude for your support, too. A recent grant allowed them to create virtual field trips, which you can read about here.

If you would like to give to Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation, visit bpsfoundation.org.

« Back to News