Purcell welcomed 17 new certified staff members as the 2020-21 school year began.
New teachers include Charity Adams, Lisa Autry, Katie Clayton, Jake Deviney, Kenzie Hay, Carly Jenne, Taryn Johnston, Jaci Lemieux, Amanda Nicklas, Sara Nichols and Kacee Uhles.
New principals this year are Jason Sanders at the high school and Cindy Stone at the elementary school. Melissa Feroli rejoins the district as the high school counselor.
Charity Adams will be teaching English at Purcell High School.
She has a 23-year-old daughter, Alexandrea, a three week old granddaughter, Lillia Hope and a seven month old Saint Bernard, Bella Rose.
She is a graduate of Tucson High School, Oklahoma Baptist University and Liberty Baptist and previously taught four years at Choctaw High School.
The reason she took the new position, “To work for and be a Dragon, of course.”
“If you bring me a Coke Zero with extra vanilla from Sonic, I’ll love you forever,” she said.
Lisa Autry will be teaching Kindergarten at Purcell Elementary.
Her husband is Queston Autry and their children are Huck, Kyzer and Kipton.
She is a graduate of Maysville High School and Oklahoma State University.
Her previous teaching positions include second grade at Maysville from 2016-2020 and kindergarten at Wayne from 2011-2016.
“I have enjoyed being involved in the Dragon atmosphere through my husband, who has worked at Purcell since 2018 in the junior high and as Offensive Coordinator for football,” Mrs. Autry said.
“We are excited for our family to be together in the Purcell School District. I look forward to being back in the kindergarten classroom and working with a great team of teachers,” she concluded.
Katie Clayton will be teaching math at Purcell High School.
Her family includes her fiance Chris Smith and a daughter, Ellie.
She is a graduate of Stillwater High School and Oklahoma State University for undergrad and graduate degrees.
She previously taught math at Jenks and before that was a speech therapist in Ponca City.
“I love what I do but I wanted a smaller school district,” she said.
Katie reports she loves to read, scrapbooking, shopping and spending time with her daughter.
Jake Deviney will be teaching science and coaching at Purcell High School.
He and his wife, Loren, have a daughter, Cobie Laine, and a son, Sage.
Jake has degrees from East Central University and ORU and has previously worked at Westmoore as a physical science instructor and head cross country and track coach.
“I had taken a leave from teaching and coaching to plant a church. I have been missing the classroom for sure. When this opportunity came I had to jump on it,” Deviney said.
Kenzie Hay, who is married to Kyle Hay, will be teaching special education at Purcell Intermediate School.
She earned her degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and has previously served as intermediate library assistant.
“My mom has inspired me to want to help kids learn and grow into the spectacular humans they are all capable of being,” Hay said. “I recently got married and moved to Purcell and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of such a great community.”
Carly Jenne will be teaching kindergarten at Purcell Elementary.
She and her husband, Derek Jenne, have one child Everly Jenne.
Her education came from Oklahoma City Community College and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.
“I am a Purcell Alumni and think there is nothing better than to give back to my community by teaching young minds,” Jenne said.
Taryn Johnston will be teaching special education at Purcell Elementary School.
She and her husband, Nathan, have one daughter, Kimber, and are guardians of Ryan.
She earned her degree at Southern Nazarene University and is currently enrolled at ECU for a Master’s in Special Education.
“This is my first year within the school but I have worked with both children and adults that receive special education services,” Johnston said.
“I chose to take my new position after watching the young man I am a guardian grow,” she continued. “Being a significant part of his growth and development made me want to help others.
“I am very passionate about the growth within special education. I am a guardian of a disabled young man who consistently shows me that education is possible. I also have a five year old daughter who shows me every day how important education is. I learn pretty much everything from my kids,” she said.
Jaci Lemieux will be teaching first grade at Purcell Elementary.
She and her husband, Rance Lemieux, have a daughter, Leighton.
She is a graduate of Forgan High School and earned her degree from The University of Oklahoma.
Lemieux previously taught second grade at Maysville.
“I heard how wonderful of a school and community Purcell was and couldn’t wait to be a part of it,” she said.
“When I am not working, you can find me hanging out at home with my husband, daughter, and two puppies,” she said. “I love traveling, being outdoors and watching OU football. Boomer Sooner!”
Amanda Nicklas will be teaching kindergarten.
She and her husband, Jason, have three children, Blane, Bentlee and Bowen.
Amanda graduated from Christian Crusaders Academy, a private Christian school in Purcell and complete all four years of college at East Central University.
Nicklas previously taught kindergarten in Purcell for three years before deciding to stay home with her children nine years ago.
“I absolutely love teaching kindergarten,” Nicklas said. “These little ones love their teacher and school so much at this age. That warms my heart. I enjoy making learning a new adventure every day. I love the look on each face when they learn something new. It is just the best feeling.
“I am excited to be back in the Dragon family. This might be the craziest year to come back, but I’m ready for the adventure ahead.”
Sara Nichols has experience counseling from kindergarten through the 12th grade.
She is a widow with two children, Alivia, and Evan.
She is a Prague High School graduate and earned her BA and M.Ed both from the University of Oklahoma.
“A full-time school counseling position has been my goal for several years,” Nichols said. “I believe I will be able to touch more students and families in this position and I am excited for the new experiences.”
The Nichols live in Norman with their two miniature schnauzers, Max and Hazel.
“We are excited to become Dragons,” she concluded.
Kacee Uhles will be teaching second grade and is married to Bradley Uhles.
She previously taught third grade at Paoli and first grade at Maysville.
Uhles is a graduate of Community Christian School and Mid America Christian University.
“This was the best choice for my family,” she said. “It’s a bigger school district.
“Being a teacher is truly my calling,” Uhles continued. “I love spending time with family, hunting, fishing, traveling, golfing, playing volleyball and antiquing. I am happy to be at Purcell Public Schools. Go Dragons!”
Melissa Feroli is stepping back into her role as PHS counselor, a position she held from 2008-2015.
She has also taught English III and IV and most recently served as counselor at Mid-America Technology Center.
She and her husband, Kylie Lawson, have five children, Kenzie, Payton, Ellie, Drew and Kate.
Feroli is a graduate of Cordell High School and the University of Oklahoma.
“I missed PHS and am excited to rejoin the teachers and staff,” Feroli said. “I loved my time at MATC, but PHS is home.”
Cindy Stone returns to the building she once taught in to take over the reigns as principal.
Stone and her husband, Rick, have children Ryan, Zack, Chalie, son-in-law Curtis Lofton and grandson Cord.
Stone is a graduate of Wayne High School and earned her Bachelors in Elementary Education at USAO.
She completed her Master in Reading Intervention as well as her Masters in Elementary Administration at East Central University.
Stone said over 13 years she taught many grade levels at Purcell Elementary and transitioned to teach fourth grade at the intermediate school before the Reading Coach there.
She served five years as a principal in Chickasha before serving as principal at Monroe Elementary in Norman for two years.
“With Mrs. Dillard retiring, I was contacted by many teachers to come back home. I am so excited to be back and leading such an amazing group,” she said.
“Family is everything to me,” Stone continued. “Coming back to Purcell brought me closer to my daughter and her family who live in Stratford and my parents and grandfather who live in Purcell.
“I’m excited to be back and ready to help our school and community through this pandemic.
“We are prepared with the best teachers,” Stone said. “I am convinced that we are enough for our sweet students and families. We are in this together and together we will do great things. Thank you for such a warm welcome back into the community.”
Jason Sanders, who takes over as the Purcell High School Principal is married to Kassie Byrd.
He is a graduate of Shawnee High School and has degrees from the University of Central Oklahoma and SWOSU.
He previously taught AP world history at Norman High School and most recently served as assistant principal at Whittier Middle School.
“I’m excited to work in a smaller district where you can spend more time working closely with and supporting students,” Sanders said. “I love to fish and hike and get outside as often as I can.”