SPEF in the News

Stillwater News Press – June 5, 2024

Stillwater Public Education Foundation Welcomes New Executive Director

Stillwater Public Education Foundation Appoints Emily Lewis as New Executive Director

Following an extensive search process, the Stillwater Public Education Foundation (SPEF) Board is excited to announce its next Executive Director Emily Lewis. Her appointment began May 9 following Board approval.

Emily joins SPEF with a background in business management, public relations, marketing and event planning. She previously worked for Community Health Systems in Arkansas and Texas in various healthcare administration roles and has served in volunteer roles in her local Parent Teacher Associations and on-campus organizations at OSU. Emily is a Northwest Arkansas native and proud Oklahoma State University alumnae. She graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s of science in Marketing and holds an MBA from John Brown University. Emily lives in Stillwater with her husband, Paul, and three young sons.

In addressing her new role Emily shared, “I’m looking forward to serving the Stillwater community and getting to know the board, Stillwater Public Schools educators and staff and help them reach aspirational goals for our school district. Stillwater is a special place. Our community has such a passion for high quality education and giving back to our school district. Together, we will elevate the work of SPEF and expand our mission and impact within the community. Growing up in a small community in Arkansas, I saw first-hand the impact nonprofits can have on local families. Throughout my whole life, my parents have given me an excellent example of service and dedication to non-profit work. Their service paved a legacy of investing in their community which helped Northwest Arkansas thrive. As my hometown grew and needs evolved and were more abundant, they found ways to connect people and fill the gaps. I hope to follow in their footsteps by increasing the support and awareness needed to fill the funding gaps in our state and provide innovative and creative programs, equipment and opportunities that otherwise would not be available to the students and educators of SPS.”

After three years of exceptional service to SPEF, Executive Director Ashlee Robertson is stepping down from her position following completion of Emily’s training and onboarding on May 31. SPEF extends our deepest appreciation to Ashlee and her dedicated service these past few years. Her advocacy for the teachers and students of Stillwater Public Schools has made a tremendous impact in our school district. During her time leading the board, Ashlee has raised more than $375,000 in funds for Stillwater Public Schools and launched new programs including fundraising initiatives for special education services, teacher appreciation and an upcoming membership program.





Stillwater Public Education Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to building strong community connections and support for Stillwater Public Schools. Since its inception in 1984, SPEF has given more than $1.8 Million to Stillwater Public Schools to fund special initiatives and enhance learning opportunities to all SPS students.

08/07/2023 – August is here and we are ready to start a new year!  But before we launch into 2023-24, lets take a look back on 2022-23.  In 2022-23 SPEF provided $151,341 to the Stillwater Public Schools!  Below is a summary of what we funded last year.

$51, 460 – SPEF Teacher Grants!

$43,875 – Play-Based Learning Materials for PreK Classrooms!

$25,000 – Aviation Flight Simulators!

$11,168 – Onward Arts Funding for Drama Programs at Elementary Schools & Stillwater Middle School!

$11,020 – SPEF MVP Fundraising for SPS Special Services

$3,850 – Bartley Technology Grant – iPads & Cases for PreK Classrooms

$3,300 – Teacher of the Year Awards from the Gish Fund

$1,000 – Teacher Recognition and Appreciation awards

$570 (SJHS) – Charlie P. Hall funding for Stillwater Junior High Band

$100 – Lincoln Academy Library in memory of Grady Lambert

We are proud that we could fund these many project; but we couldn’t have done it without those of you who donate to SPEF, especially our Corporate Partners! Let’s take another moment to recongize and thank them for their tremenous support of SPEF!

Gold Level Corporate Partners
Cockrell Eyecare Center
Eskimo Joe’s
InterWorks, Inc.
Oklahoma Community Credit Union
Simmons Bank
Stillwater Medical Center
Wilson Auto Family

Silver Level Corporate Partners
505 Architects
Arvest Bank
Credit Bureau Services Assoc.
Exchange Bank
First National Bank & Trust Co.
Great Plains Bank
Lambert Construction
Oklahoma State University
OSU College of Education & Human Sciences
RCB Bank
Rosenstein, Fist & Ringold
Stillwater Designs / Kicker
Stillwater News Press
Tinker Federal Credit Union

We are excited for 2023-24 and to see what we can do this year!

10/7/2022 – On September 27, 2022, SPEF hosted a Celebration of Education raising more than $42,000 for the Stillwater Public Schools!  This event, held at Sparrow Beginnings, brought SPS teachers and educators, SPEF Teacher Grant winners and members of the Stillwater Community together to celebrate the amazing educators of the Stillwater Public Schools.

We celebrated the success of the Onward Arts initiative that was launched at last year’s Celebration.  Onward Arts provided funding to send all of the Stillwater High School students to STOMP at the McKnight Center in February 2022 and established a summer drama camp for elementary students in June 2022.  Both of these events were a huge success and we look forward to continuing to provide these opportunities to students again this year.  We are excited to announce that the drama program will now be an after school program in Spring 2023 at Highland Park and Westwood Elementary schools.

Also as part of the  celebration, we recognized our 2021-22 teacher grant recipients for their outstanding work and their innovative grant awards that provided new resources benefit their students and schools.

Thank you to all that attended and who continue to support SPEF through their generous donations.

10/12/21 – Congratulations to the 1st round of SPEF grant recipients for the 2021-22 school year! $5,591 in funding awarded today! As always, SPEF is pleased to fund these worthwhile projects benefiting SPS students!

10/1/21 – On Thursday, September 30, we had our first in-person fundraising event since the beginning of the pandemic and it was a huge success!  We launched a new flagship fundraising campaign for the arts called “Onward Arts” and announced the establishment of the Jenifer Bartley Technology Fund in recognition of Jenifer’s tenure as the Executive Director SPEF.  Attendees helped us raise more than $55,000 for Stillwater Public Schools, including $23,100 for the Onward Arts fundraising kick off and $20,500 for the Jenifer Bartley Technology Fund.

Onward Arts is our new campaign and it is our goal to increase opportunities for Stillwater Public School students to engage with the arts. In discussions with Dr. Moore and other administrators, they identified the arts as an area they would like to enrich in our district. This school year, that means sending our high school students to the McKnight Center to see STOMP and assisting the new after-school drama program at our elementary schools. This 9-week after-school program will be for 3rd-5th grade students and will be offered at each of the elementary sites. SPEF will provide scholarships for students to attend and funding for start-up expenses, such as props, scripts and transportation.  This campaign is going to be a gamechanger for providing access to arts resources and programming for Stillwater Public Schools.

Also as part of the  celebration, we recognized our 2020-21 teacher grant recipients for their outstanding work and their innovative grant awards that provided new resources benefit their students and schools.

Thank you to all that attended and who continue to support SPEF through their generous donations.

8/5/21 – Nominations for SPEF’s Powerful Peers teacher recognition awards are now open! They are due by 5:00pm on Friday, August 27! See link to the flier below for details on how to nominate one of your inspiring Stillwater Public Schools education co-workers! Five recipients will be selected and announced in September. Each of the five winners will receive $100 from SPEF!