Transformative Teacher Award

The Transformative Teacher Award recognizes instructors who have had a profound effect on the students who have passed through their classrooms. They have shaped the lives and artistic paths of their students through their devotion to their craft and abilities as educators. Award winners are selected through nominations by Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute students and the teachers listed below have stood out as truly exceptional.

The Transformative Teacher Awards are sponsored by BOK Financial.

2022 Recipients

Merrie Palmer

Ada High School

Fine Arts Director and Performing Arts Teacher

"She truly cares about every student she has in class and has created an environment that feels like family. Even after graduating high school she reaches out to her former students and supports them." - Madison Hoover, OSAI student

Clifton Raphael

Jenks High School

Film & Broadcast Journalism Teacher

"Mr. Raphael has dedicated so much to the development of his students. From managing an entire film program at one of the largest schools in the state single handedly, to writing paragraphs of feedbacks on each of his students’ short films, Mr. Raphael is nothing short of generous in pouring into our futures. His work in our program is absolutely unparalleled." - Jolie Abdo, OSAI student

Amy Reynolds-Reed

Dance Unlimited (OKC)

Owner, Artistic Director, Instructor

"Though there are many great educators in the state, Amy is set above because of her dedication to her students. I'm convinced she never sleeps and I have no idea how she keeps up with everything. She is always organized and is constantly working to supply great opportunities for us to grow outside of just technique class." - McKenzie Russ, OSAI student

Samantha Taylor

Collinsville High School

Vocal Music Teacher

"Ms. Taylor is not like any other director in the state or even in the country, because not only is she a fantastic director she also doubles as a sort of mom to every student. She is always there for us. She always teaches us new things not only with music. While building our set for the musical she even taught me how to use power tools. As talented as everyone in my choir is, we would not be as good as we are without her. She is one of a kind." - Evan R. Goforth, OSAI student

Colin Waddell

Putnam City High School

Orchestra Director

"Mr. Waddell is one of the most supportive music teachers I know and he always finds time to help his students. Mr. Waddell puts the same effort into our artistic development and personal development. He has taught me and many others that as long as you have put effort into your audition, you have gained something whether or not you were successful in the audition. Simply though how he composes himself and acts teaches us how to be an upstanding individual." - Tyler Dees, OSAI student