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Receiving the 2014 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is one of the greatest honors for an educator. This year NSU graduate Patricia “Diane” Reece was named as one of two winners from Oklahoma.
Reece obtained her Bachelor of Science in Education (BSED) in 1988 and a Masters of Education (MED) in 1995, both from NSU’s College of Education. She worked until Thanksgiving break last year and passed away Dec. 5 at the age of 61.
In July, Reece was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a condition that affects bone marrow and blood cells. Reece was also a cancer survivor and battled colon cancer in 2002 and breast cancer in 2007. This condition is more prevalent among those who have been treated for cancer.
A White House announcement Dec. 20 named Reece and fellow teacher Carol Huett, of Moore, as the Oklahoma recipients of the prestigious award. Reece taught at Bokoshe for 36 years, won many accolades for her teaching, obtained a prestigious grant that provided quality after-school programs to her district, founded the town library and even had her young students work on beautification projects around the school.
“This is obviously bittersweet,” said Reece’s daughter Kris Williams. “We were very excited for her because she was anticipating the news. She even asked about it when she was in the hospital.”
Reece comes from a family of NSU alumni and educators. Her husband, Billy Reece, graduated from NSU with his BSED in 1969, MED in 1983 and retired as Bokoshe Public School superintendent. Daughters Kassandra Lovell and Williams, also teachers, graduated from NSU in 1993 and 2004, respectively.
“My mother was an amazing teacher and woman. Actually, she was an amazing human,” said Lovell. “She knew that many times a child’s first experience with school took place in her kindergarten class. She wanted students to be excited about learning and realize that learning could be fun. Helping to create lifelong learners was important to her.”
Reece was a National Board certified teacher and a state finalist for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year and won an Oklahoma Medal of Excellence in Teaching in 2010.
Published: 2/6/2014 4:30:07 PM