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Getting to Know the Owasso Schools Board of Education

By EMILY RAMSEY
Managing Editor

EDUCATION FOCUSED: Owasso School Superintendent Dr. Clark Ogilvie, right, stands with members of the Owasso Schools Board of Education. From left are Brent England, Frosty Turpen, Pat Vanatta, Gail Ballinger and Rhonda Mills.


EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers


The Owasso Public Schools Board of Education is responsible for establishing the policies under which the district operates. The board must act within the framework of state and federal laws and still be responsible to the needs of the Owasso community.
The school board is made up of five members: Gail Ballinger, Brent England, Rhonda Mills, Frosty Turpen and Pat Vanatta.

Pat Vanatta is a retired 25-year educator and represents Ward 1.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University in elementary education and a master’s from Northeastern State University in reading education.

She enjoys serving with the other board members to “guide the course of our school district to succeed in accomplishing the best educational environment for our students, staff members and support personnel,” she says.

Vanatta is hopeful that Owasso patrons will vote to approve the proposed October bond issue. (See front page story.) “All of the projects included in the bond are necessary for our school system to continue offering excellence in education for our students,” she says.

Rhonda Mills represents Ward 2. Her reason for running for a board seat in 2011 was directly related to impacting the overall educational experience for her children and all Owasso students.

“I wanted to ensure our students get the best possible education while incorporating our community’s views and using my expertise in leadership to help guide the district,” she says.

Mills holds an associate in accounting and a bachelor’s in business.

Her background is in executive level management and she is currently the vice president of operations for Clifford Power Systems.

Gail Ballinger took over the Ward 3 school board seat in 2003 and has held it ever since. She will, however, retire from her board position next year.

Ballinger is a 30-year educator, who spent 18 of those years with Owasso Public Schools as a sixth grade social studies teacher.

She holds an elementary education degree from Northeastern State University with a minor in biology.

“Being on the school board has offered me a way to continue to serve and to be involved in education after my professional retirement,” Ballinger says.

Ballinger has also enjoyed her time on the school board with her long-time friend Pat Vanatta. They met in college during their freshman year, says Ballinger, and their shared background as teachers binds them together and brings an educator’s perspective to the board.

Brent England, who has represented Ward 4 since 2004, comes from a family of educators who instilled in him a “deep desire that students get the best education possible,” he says.

His three daughters all graduated from Owasso Public Schools.

England brings an accounting background to the school board.

He holds an MBA in accounting and has worked in the field for more than 30 years. He is a partner at the SES Group.

Representing Ward 5, Frosty Turpen is an Owasso High School graduate and has served on the school board for more than 20 years.

Turpen holds a degree from the University of Tulsa, and has a business background, including owning his own business, Turpen and Associates, Inc.

He is currently considering running for another term on the school board and has enjoyed “seeing the Owasso district grow and become one of the best, if not ‘the’ best, district in the state,” he says.

Updated 10-09-2017

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