Tahlequah Public Schools has just completed the first semester of the 2023-2024 school year. The days and the weeks seem to fly by quicker each year. Every day here is filled with laughter, learning, failure, tears, hugs, celebrations, champions, and everything in between. Busy is an understatement! However busy we are, we never want to take what we have for granted. We know we are blessed beyond measure!

Our enrollment has stayed steady with about 3600 students enrolled on any given day. To begin this second semester, we have 159 PK students at Sequoyah. We have 428 students at Cherokee, 507 students at Greenwood and 494 students at Heritage. Tahlequah Middle school has 687 students and Tahlequah High School/Central has 1306. We have 305 certified staff members and 193 support staff members. We are fully aware that the decisions we make daily have a direct impact on over 4000 people. Every decision we make is with the students and staff in mind.

Projects from our last bond election are in various stages of completion around the district. Our turf project at the Tahlequah Middle School field has been completed for months and is used by students and the community. The Greenwood parking lot is complete and has made an enormous difference in the flow of traffic at that site. The indoor athletic facility and the new library renovation at Cherokee Elementary should be completed by this February. The Cherokee addition is moving ahead, and you can finally see what it will look like when it is complete. The additional classrooms that will also double as a storm shelter at Greenwood are beginning to take shape as well. Both of these projects are scheduled to be completed by the beginning of the next school year.

We are just now beginning talks about the next bond election we will propose. It is two to three years out, but large bonds take years to plan for. We will begin discussing potential projects that our district administration know we need or want. We will soon be forming a community stakeholder group to give us input on what they want to see Tahlequah Public Schools look like in the future. One project that is important to us is the renovation of the Central building. This building is steeped in history of our town and school district. This month marks the 100-year birthday of this facility. We imagine this building remodeled to house our administrative offices that are spread throughout three different buildings across our district. This space would be utilized for other community partner offices, board meetings, a professional development center for our district and to share with other community schools and spaces for students to attend speakers or workshops. The possibilities and dreams are endless. There are many other needs across our district, and we will use community input to help us plan for a bright future!

January is School Board Member Appreciation month! I would like to thank our school board members for their dedicated service to the students and staff at TPS. Chrissi Nimmo is our Board President and represents Seat 4. Shawn Coffman is our Vice-President and represents seat 5. Dr. Dana Eversole represents seat 3, Stephanie Crawford represents Seat 2 and Lorraine Walker serves for seat 1. These five ladies are dedicated, non-paid, public servants. They choose to give of their time and talents to ensure that the families and staff of TPS has the absolute best experience possible. I am confident that with this team, Tahlequah is in great hands!

It is my honor to lead Tahlequah Public Schools. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or concerns, I am available. You may contact me by phone at 918.458.4100 or by email at jonest@tahlequahschools.org. Thank you and remember, “Once a Tiger, always a Tiger!”

Written by Tanya Jones/Superintendent