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NSU Endowed Chair honored with Pinnacle Award

(L-R) Carmela Hill, co-chair Pinnacle Awards Committee, Dr Allyson Watson, Asst Dean College of Education NSU, Tulsa Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett Jr. (Photo credit: City of Tulsa)

Dr. Allyson Watson, endowed chair for Urban Education, Outreach and Research in the College of Education at Northeastern State University, was one of seven women who received the 2015 Pinnacle Award from the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women, Wednesday at Tulsa’s City Hall.

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. presented the awards, which recognized outstanding Tulsa-area women who are role models, and demonstrate a commitment to issues that affect women and children.

Watson won for her service in the Education category and was surprised when she received the news.

“I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude and humility. When you do what you love, you don’t do it for an award. You do it because it’s what you’re passionate about.”

Watson hopes she is seen as an educator who stands for something powerful, and inspires others to use their passion to make a difference.

“Any time I can help a young person see how education is important, or develop their potential to be a leader, or impact the lives of students in K through 12, that’s what my dream is.”

Watson was nominated by Nancy Smith, a community member she worked with on a Leadership Conference for high school students, facilitated by NSU in 2013.

“I organized the entire conference with her granddaughter, Kaylee Morrison, who was the visionary for it all, and also the Pinnacle Award Rising Star recipient,” Watson said.

It was geared toward leadership development for young students, and since then different universities have joined in to take turns hosting the conference.

“We had 75 students attend the first year.”

Watson is a trailblazer in the field of education, as she has demonstrated with several projects throughout her career.

She is the founder and director of Teaching and Urban Reform Network (TURN) at NSU, a unique program that impacts the lives of students in poverty.

The program design allows for pre-service teachers to focus educational practice in urban schools, and attend core courses specific to the needs of teaching urban students.

TURN’s success is now recognized in Oklahoma and within Tulsa as one of the leading urban education preparation programs in the state. Since its founding in 2009 and the launch in 2010, there are 117 TURN teacher candidates.

She is on the board of directors for Clarehouse Tulsa, Tulsa School for Arts & Sciences, and serves as an academics committee and board member for the KIPP Tulsa College Academy. Nationally, she was the first president of the Gates Millennium Scholars Alumni Association.

The list of volunteer initiatives and projects is long, and Watson shows no signs of slowing down.

Recently, she travelled to Haiti for a week with a team of teachers from Wilfred Laurier University, to build capacity in educational partnerships with local teachers and schools.

She plans to return in October with some of NSU’s robotics technology to train the teachers, in an effort to establish a robotics summer camp for girls, next July.

Dr. Mark Arant, provost and vice president academic affairs, described Watson as an asset to NSU.

“Dr. Watson represents the best of NSU and the best of the field of Education. She has mastered the art and the science of Education, while delivering her knowledge to her students and the public with a graceful, humble spirit. NSU is very fortunate to have her on faculty and we are immensely proud of her and her accomplishments,” Arant said.

Published: 5/21/2015 1:31:58 PM

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