Union Teacher Wins Newsmakers Award


Congratulations to Ellen Ochoa fourth grade teacher Lisa Shotts, who has been named a Newsmaker Award winner by the Tulsa Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications. She is scheduled to be honored with other Newsmakers during the 47th Annual Newsmakers Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, April 29, at Southern Hills Country Club.
“This is such a distinguished honor and I am still in shock I was chosen and in awe of the other honorees,” Shotts said. Shotts was honored for her work as executive director of Gaining Ground and being named the Union Public Schools Teacher of the Year in 2019.
“It has been such an honor to represent Union Public Schools this last year,” Shotts said in a letter to Superintendent Dr. Hartzler. “In addition to my teaching career here at Union you might not know that I am the founder and executive director of Gaining Ground.
“Gaining Ground provides thousands of books for students in underserved areas and two of our schools are McAuliffe and Ellen Ochoa. Between these two schools, we will give approximately 17,000 books to all the children at these schools and provide summer access to books through our Gaining Ground Book Van and/or the McAuliffe Reading van. In addition, we support three schools at Tulsa Public Schools and will give more than 32,000 books away this summer! Because of my work at Gaining Ground – as well as being chosen Union District Teacher of the year in 2019 – Women in Communications of Tulsa has chosen me for a Newsmaker Award for 2020.”
On the Women in Communications website it states, “Shotts is driven by her desire to ignite a passion for reading in students, especially those in underserved areas. That mission has led her from the classroom to literacy consulting and to a six-week teaching position in Uganda, Africa. That experience inspired her to establish the nonprofit Gaining Ground. Its mission is to bridge the literacy gap for students in poverty. Since its founding in 2017, Gaining Ground has provided more than 40,000 new books to 4,000 students in the Tulsa area.”
Additional Newsmakers to be honored at the event include Aliye Shimi, executive director of the Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry; Kim Teehee, Cherokee Nation Businesses senior vice president of Government Relations and Cherokee Nation Delegate to Congress; and Joy Harjo, poet laureate of the United States 2019-2020.
Each spring, Women in Communications recognizes Newsmakers for their significant, newsworthy contributions to the advancement of women and our community.
Proceeds from the Newsmakers Awards luncheon provide AWC Rising Star Communicator scholarships to students pursuing communications degrees, and books for each student at its adopted school, Anderson Elementary.
During the luncheon, in observance of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote, Newsmakers 2020 will have a special theme highlighting the suffragist newsmakers of the early 1900s.
For more information, visit awctulsa.org/meetinginfo.php.