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Tulsa teachers receive NSU graduate scholarship to study counseling

(Tahlequah, Oklahoma) — Two Tulsa Public Schools teachers are the recipients of a Northeastern State University scholarship to help address a critical need for school counselors within the district.

Tawanna Treat
Tawanna Treat
Tawanna Treat, a third grade teacher at the Project Accept TRAICE Elementary School, and Dimita Pugh, a sixth grade teacher at Monroe Demonstration Academy, were selected as this year’s recipients of the Gregg Wadley Graduate Student Scholarship.

The scholarship award will allow Treat and Pugh to complete a master’s of science degree in counseling at NSU and pursue an emergency pathway to the school counselor credential starting this fall.

The graduate college will provide the scholarship recipients a $5,000 stipend each to help cover education expenses. Dean of the Graduate College Dr. Cari Keller said the stipend will be awarded at $2,500 per fall and spring semester for the first year only.

Dimita Pugh
Dimita Pugh
In the second year, thanks to a partnership with the Tulsa Public Schools, the scholarship recipients will be hired on an emergency certificate to fill a need for school counseling within the district while completing their final year of study.

“NSU partners with TPS on many initiatives,” Keller said. “This initiative was developed specifically to address the shortage of school counselors in the state of Oklahoma, particularly counselors that represent the population they serve. We are attempting to address both through scholarship funding and exemplary education.”

The NSU Graduate College is a proud partner with community stakeholders seeking to recruit underrepresented populations to their organization. The Gregg Wadley Graduate College scholarship allows NSU to provide funding toward graduate level education or credentialing needed for those recruited to excel at those organizations.

As part of that partnership, the graduate college, the Master of Science in Counseling program at NSU and Tulsa Public Schools identified current teachers with exceptional social/emotional skills, who match the student population in terms of race, ethnicity and/or home language to complete the counseling degree and pursue an emergency pathway to the school counselor credential.

Treat began teaching three years ago after working as a parent educator for the Oklahoma Department of Health. After completing the Tulsa Teacher Corps, an intensive training program by Tulsa Public Schools, Treat became an emergency certified early education teacher. She now has her provincial license and is very close to becoming a fully certified teacher. She has a B.A. from Oral Roberts University.

Some of her achievements throughout her career include starting a self-funded program called BOOKONOMICS that brought books and activities to families under a monthly community connection scheme. She also manages a partnership with STARBASE OK to bring STEM to elementary schools.

Pugh is a graduate of Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English Liberal Arts and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management.

She came to Tulsa via Teach for America, a nonprofit that finds and “nurture leaders who commit to expanding opportunities for low-income students, beginning with at least two years teaching in a public school,” according to its website. As part of her Teach for America, Pugh fulfilled the term of her contract, but elected to stay with Tulsa Public Schools.

Pugh has spent the last two years at Monroe Demonstration Academy, a North Tulsa school that feeds into McClain High School. Pugh will be joining McClain next year as either an English teacher or school counselor on an emergency certificate. 

“Dimita is all about forging professional relationships with students,” Associate Professor of Counseling & Psychology Mary Waters said. “This counseling degree will give her more tools and skills to establish relationships with students, parents and the community in which she serves.”