Suzie Smith - Executive Director of Organizational and Professional Learning
Suzie Smith recently joined TPS as the executive director of Organizational and Professional Learning after serving as the project manager for the IPD Grant. Her responsibilities include managing and supporting the assessment of organizational development and learning needs of the district as well as the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs that facilitate the professional development and continuous learning of the staff.
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Her duties also include collaboration with stakeholders to provide vision and strategic direction for the district's learning needs.
Smith earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma in Business Education and her master's degree from Oklahoma State University in Occupational and Adult Education.
She has 26 years of experience in education, trained nationally for School Improvement Network, and presented at Learning Forward Conferences as well as the School Improvement Innovation Summit. She was a classroom teacher for 16 years and spent 10 years as a director of special projects, technology integration, and professional development.
Jennifer Gripado - Director of Leadership Development
Jennifer has worked for Tulsa Public Schools for 18 years. She began her career as a 3rd and 4th grade classroom teacher at Kerr Elementary. While teaching, Jennifer earned her National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist. She transitioned out of the classroom to the Office of Professional Development as the TPS Elementary Science Resource Teacher for two years. During that time, she also participated in leadership training at the TPS Aspirant Academy.
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Jennifer spent two years as the assistant principal at Nimitz Middle School before becoming a principal at Park Elementary. She then transferred to Grissom Elementary where she spent five years.
In 2012, Jennifer joined the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Office as a TLE Fellow, coaching first year principals and leading professional learning cohorts for first and second year assistant principals and first and second year principals. Jennifer became the Director of Leadership Development in April of 2013. She designs professional development and learning for nine diverse leadership cohorts ranging from Emerging Leaders to ILD Development. Jennifer is also the Project Manager for the School Leader Program Grant and the Wallace Foundation Grant.
Katy Ackley - Co-Director of Teacher Development
Katy Ackley began her career with Tulsa Public Schools in 2000 as a 4th grade teacher at Kendall-Whittier Elementary. After teaching for eight years, Katy went on to become an Instructional Facilitator, Assistant Principal and Elementary Principal. Prior to becoming Director of Teacher Development in July of 2014, Katy spent two years as a TPS Fellow in the Office of Teacher and Leader Effectiveness.
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Katy received her Master's degree in Educational Administration, Curriculum and Supervision from the University of Oklahoma in 2006 and is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree of the same. Katy is a proud graduate of TPS's own Booker T. Washington High School. She is married with three children who currently attend Booker T. and Mayo Demonstration School.
Gina Cook - Co-Director of Teacher Development
Gina began her career as a Tulsa Public Schools Middle School Math teacher in 1994. She was part of the recertification of math teachers across the state in 2000, training hundreds of middle school math teachers in problem-based learning. She moved into a coaching role in 2007 and was a Math Curriculum Trainer for Pearson Teaching & Learning for 4 years.
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In 2011, Gina returned to Tulsa Public School as an Elementary Math Academic Coordinator for Curriculum and Instruction. She remained in that position until November 2014 when she moved into her current position in Professional Development. Gina received her BS.Ed from Northeastern State University and M.Ed. in Educational Administration, Curriculum and Supervision from Oklahoma University.
Susan Carey - IPD Grant Manager
Susan Carey recently joined Tulsa Public Schools as the iPD Project Manager. In her role as the iPD Project Manager, Susan manages and supports the implementation of a strategic plan to empower teachers and increase their professional development.
Susan received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oklahoma State University and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
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She served as an attorney in private practice for many years before joining the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Department of Continuing Education. While there, she assisted attorneys in meeting their professional development needs and requirements.
Susan is admitted to practice before all courts in the State of Oklahoma, the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, and the United States Tax Court. She is a member of the American Bar Association and the Oklahoma Bar Association. She is a former member of the Oklahoma County Bar Association, the United Way of Central Oklahoma's Emerging Leaders, and the Ruther Bader Ginsburg American Inn of Court.
Teresa Peña - Strategic School Design Specialist
Teresa Peña has worked with Tulsa Public Schools for 28 years. She began her career as a World Languages teacher at Carver Middle School and spent most of her teaching career at Byrd Middle School. Teresa interned as an Assistant Principal at Franklin Youth Academy and then has served as Assistant Principal at Clinton Middle School and at Will Rogers High School, where she was also the Director of the 9th Grade Academy. In 2011, Teresa became the World Languages Academic Coordinator in Curriculum and Instruction.
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In this position, she was responsible for collaborating with World Languages teachers to write Standards for World Languages. Teresa was also responsible for the successful implementation of the arts grant, Any Given Child, in TPS. In this role, she wrote curriculum guidelines and led art and content area teachers in writing and developing curriculum to integrate arts into the core curriculum. Currently, Teresa is a Strategic School Design Specialist where she assists schools in locating resources needed for meeting the specific needs of their students.
Teresa holds a B.A. in French and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. Teresa is also an active member of the Oklahoma Foreign Language Teachers Association (OFLTA) and the Superintendent’s Hispanic Advisory Council. She has previously served as a Commissioner on the Greater Tulsa Hispanic Commission, a member of the Curriculum Advisory Council, and as an adjunct faculty member for TPS Human Relations.