Nonprofit’s Teacher Pipeline Program increases retention, furthers diversity

Friday May 3, 2024

Paraprofessionals earn teaching degrees through OKCPS Foundation:
Nonprofit’s Teacher Pipeline Program increases retention, furthers diversity

(Left to Right): The Spring 2024 OKCPS Foundation Teacher Pipeline Program graduates Lissa Nunez, Priscilla Rojas, Martha Martinez-Ramos, Maira Mejia and Jamie Coles are celebrated by the community during the graduation ceremony.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (May 3, 2024) – Yesterday, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation hosted a graduation ceremony honoring the five newest graduates of its Teacher Pipeline Program. This Foundation-led initiative provides full financial support for paraprofessionals as they earn their degrees and become certified OKCPS teachers, helping local schools recruit and retain passionate educators and furthering the district’s diverse teacher workforce. 

The ceremony, sponsored by longtime partner and education advocate OG&E, recognized pipeline participants past and present, highlighted the importance of diverse, quality educators and celebrated the incredible achievements of the five newest pipeline graduates. 

“The recent graduates of our Teacher Pipeline Program represent the very best of our district,” said Mary Mélon-Tully, president and CEO of the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation. “It’s an honor to recognize these hardworking and passionate individuals, and we can’t wait to see them teach, inspire and empower future generations of students at OKCPS.” 

As part of the Teacher Pipeline Program, each graduate started their journeys at OCCC, OSU-OKC or Rose State College and then completed and received their bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma – all at no personal cost. Program participants earn their degrees while balancing full-time jobs, family commitments and other obligations, a testament to their incredible work ethic and passion for educating tomorrow’s leaders.

The 2024 Spring Teacher Pipeline Program graduates are:

  • Jamie Coles
  • Martha Martinez-Ramos
  • Maira Mejia
  • Lissa Nunez
  • Priscilla Rojas

Including this year’s graduates, a total of 25 participants have successfully completed the program and graduated with degrees in higher education. There are currently 71 participants who are in the process of completing the program, and by summer of 2024, there will be 81 pipeline participants. 

“The Foundation’s Teacher Pipeline Program addresses several critical needs in our district,” said OKCPS Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel. “From increasing recruitment and retention of educators to developing diverse teachers that mirror our unique student population, this program plays a vital role in bolstering the quality of education we are able to provide to OKCPS students. The importance of this initiative and the widespread, positive impact it has in our schools cannot be understated.”

The Teacher Pipeline Program is made possible by generous community partners. OG&E has been a committed donor and supporter of the Teacher Pipeline Program since its creation in 2016, making it possible for this program to grow, change lives and benefit thousands in the community.

“The Teacher Pipeline Program is about changing lives – changing the lives of paraprofessionals pursuing their teaching degrees and changing the lives of the students that will be forever impacted by these teachers. We’ve supported this program from its inception because it strengthens communities and creates better educational opportunities for students in OKCPS,” said Sean Trauschke, OGE Energy Corp. Chairman, President & CEO. “On behalf of the 2,300 employees of OG&E, congratulations to this year’s graduates and many thanks to the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation for continuing its investment in the district, teachers, families, students and communities.”

The Fall 2024 application deadline for the Teacher Pipeline Program is May 15. Apply today at

For more information about the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation’s Teacher Pipeline Programs and how you can support this important initiative,  visit



Created in 1984, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to advance excellence, advocate for equity and build strong community support for lasting success in Oklahoma City Public Schools. The Foundation works closely with the District and business community to align strategies and priorities for sustained performance improvement. The OKCPS Foundation is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. To learn more about the Foundation, its focus areas, and its volunteer and giving opportunities, visit


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