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Tolin Named Shawnee Middle School Principal


After an executive session, the Shawnee Board of Education reopened the doors to their June 7 meeting, and Superintendent Dr. April Grace announced, "The administration would like to recommend the hiring of Keely Tolin to be the middle school principal at Shawnee Middle School."

School Board Member Larry Walker said, "I heartily make that motion," and, as his last act as a fellow member, Ian Brown seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved. The audience, made up of mostly administrators, reacted in applause.

Tolin, who has served as the SMS Assistant Principal for five years, fills the position vacated by the resignation of Joey Slate. Who will fill the assistant principal position will be announced at a future meeting.

"I'm just super excited to continue all the good things going at the middle school," said Tolin. "We've got a great staff that I'm looking forward to leading along the way."

Tolin graduated from Bethel High School in 2004, but she taught middle school math in Shawnee for almost four years, following in her parents' footsteps. Her mother, Susan Tolin, taught middle school history and language arts in Shawnee, and her father, Doug Tolin, was a basketball coach at OBU. Both worked for many years in education before retiring about five years ago.

Tolin said she doesn't have any major plans for SMS.

"Just trying to get everyone hired and kind of get some positive behavior incentives and some sort of behavior intervention," she said. "Those kinds of things are specifically our goals this summer to make better for next school year. We've got a lot of good things going, so just continuing and growing."

About leading a school of more than 700 students, Tolin added, "We're going to get all those virtual kids back, too, so we're excited."

While Tolin welcomed her new title, school board member Ian Brown was saying goodbye to his seat on the board. School board President April Stobbe began the board report by thanking Brown and saying, "We've sure enjoyed having him."

Brown later said, after being unable to find property in Shawnee, he is moving to Harrah. Brown has served on the board for one year, and said he'll continue working at the Life Church in Shawnee.

"I've really enjoyed being part of the board," he said in response to Stobbe's comments. "It's awesome to see so many passionate people about public education. As a former administrator, it's really nice to see people who care about kids, care about their staff, and want to make sure the district moves forward.

"So, I'll still be in the community and be excited to be a part of whatever I can, but I look forward to see what you guys do," he added.

Stobbe announced that they will be searching for someone to "fill Ian's shoes" in Office 6, which is the northern area of Shawnee. For more information, visit the News section of the school website,

In the superintendent's report, Grace mentioned that the school district has received a grant for $750,000, which will be divided over three years "to help address some mental health and substance abuse things."

Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Dr. Teresa Wilkerson said they are also applying for another grant for "additional counseling services," which is due tomorrow.

Stobbe mentioned later in the meeting that the middle school library received the Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award for an eighth-grade group project entitled, "The Tulsa Race Massacre: Assumptions Cause Conflict in Society." With the national award, $5,000 was also presented by the American Library Association.

"They did a phenomenal job, and it's being recognized all over the place," said Grace.

During "business requiring board action," the board accepted the bid from Schilt Management Services and their guaranteed maximum price of $1,296,134. 64 to complete the Will Rogers Elementary renovation, adding a safe room.

They also approved the purchase of Dude Solutions, Software for Operations, for about $5,000 to keep track of maintenance projects.

Natasha Dunagan

Ian Brown listens during his last Shawnee Board of Education meeting on June 7. After a year in Office 6, Brown has decided to move to Harrah.

"We're just looking for a system that will allow us to track work orders, have the ability to know time on task, cost analysis, as well as work load management of who has seen it," said incoming Assistant Superintendent of Finance Dr. Aaron Espolt. "Then, they're going to sign when it's been completed."

"That way, we'll have more data to hopefully be, not just more accountable, but more efficient," he added.

Walker reported that he and Second Vice President Clif Harden recently attended school board training in Oklahoma City, and that he has received several positive comments about graduation being held at Jim Thorpe Stadium.

All consent docket items and personnel items were approved, and all open transfer requests of students were accepted as written.

For more details, Shawnee Public Schools Board of Education agendas can be found at


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