The Moore Public Schools Foundation has a long history of dedicated board members. Since 1995 when the Foundation was established, nearly 100 community members and leaders have served on the Foundation's board.
Mr. Bonds began his educational career in 1965. He taught math and coached in Kansas at Liberal Public Schools. He also taught three years at Olustee Public Schools before serving in the United States Army. He then moved to Moore in 1971 to begin his service with Moore Public Schools. Mr. Bonds taught math at Central Junior High and Moore High School before taking positions as assistant principal at Central Junior High and later, Moore High School. Mr. Bonds then went on to serve as principal at Highland West Junior High and eventually Moore High. After serving as principal at Moore High School, in 1987 he was named principal of the district’s second high school, Westmoore.
In 1993, Mr. Bonds became the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the district. He also served as Deputy Superintendent and Interim Superintendent before becoming Superintendent in March of 1997.Mr. Bonds was responsible for the successful restoration of the district’s facilities following the devastation of the May 3, 1999 tornado. This tornado caused some $19 million in damages. Westmoore High School sustained more than $12 million in damages and re-opened in August 1999 with only the auditorium still under construction. Kelley Elementary School, which was completely destroyed, opened in August 2000.
Mr. Bonds was named the District I Oklahoma Association of Secondary Principals Administrator of the Year in 1988. He was named District VII Administrator of the Year by OASA District in 2001. He was also named a Life Member of the Oklahoma State PTA. He held an officer’s position on the Moore Public Schools Foundation Board once it was established in 1995 and was named a Lifetime Member.
Mr. Bonds received a Master of Education Degree from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Math and Secondary Education from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He also received an Associate of Arts Degree in General Education from Altus Junior College.
Jan Bonds has given him her support through 51 years of marriage. Mrs. Bonds retired after 31 years of service to Moore Public Schools. All of her teaching years were at Northmoor Elementary. Mr. Bonds has always attributed his success to his family who stood by him, the employees who worked for him, and the community who supported him. Upon his retirement, the Moore Board of Education named Wayland Bonds Elementary School as a tribute to his service.
In September of 1994, the superintendent of Moore Public Schools, Dr. Dan Foreman, reached out to Debbie Venard wanting to create a foundation. The previous district he worked for, had a well-established foundation so he was familiar with working alongside a non-profit that supported the school system. Dr. Foreman suggested that the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Fall Forum would be the best place to gather information so Mrs. Venard and Shirley Beel attended the conference.
Mrs. Venard attended a breakout session on How to Start a Foundation. Mrs. Venard became so excited after all that she had learned, she took the lead and began asking her dentist, vet, insurance agent, her children’s orthodontist, the local grocer-Mr. Steve Buchanan and a few others to take part in getting this organization off the ground.
Mrs. Polly Nichols was the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence at the time. In the beginning, the founding group attended several meetings with Mrs. Nichols and she guided them to become a group of fundraisers. Dr. Max and Mrs. Venard financed most of the beginning expenses for the Foundation: stationery, postage, state filings, etc. Mrs. Venard threw herself into the work, making it a full-time job while she was already working a full-time job at Dr. Venard’s optometry office. She also had her most important responsibility as wife and mother to her three boys: David, Daniel and Dustin. Mrs. Venard was well-known throughout the district for her work with PTA and her advocacy for her son, Danny, who passed away in 2004.
Mrs. Venard filed the lengthy paperwork to establish the Foundation as a 501(c)3 so all donations would be tax deductible for donors. Volunteers immediately began working to raise funds for the Foundation. The group sacked groceries at Buchanan’s grocery store alongside the morning radio hosts of KXY-Dave and Dan, for tips. Mrs. Venard was nominated for the JC Penny’s Volunteer of the Year award and was awarded $5000 for the MPSF. These volunteers came together and decided that the seed members of the Foundation should each give $500 to help establish it financially. Each person that made this $500 donation became a Founding Member of the Foundation. This group accepted all donations and were thankful for any monies that came in to support their new cause.
In the early spring of 1995, the MPSF hosted their first banquet at Westmoore High School. Mary Fallin was the speaker and former Governor George Nigh was the Master of Ceremonies. Of the dignitaries at the head of the table, Polly Nichols was included. The event was a huge success! The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence office was located at the Journal Records Building in Oklahoma City and Mrs. Venard spent a significant amount of time visiting Polly Nichols there as Mrs. Nichols helped to propel the Foundation forward.
On April 19, 1995, the Oklahoma City bombing occurred. Mrs. Nichols was critically injured. Mrs. Venard had been in the building 24 hours prior visiting Mrs. Nichols. The bombing stopped all momentum of the MPSF. The group knew it was not the time to ask for donations during Oklahoma City’s time of recovery. They had the seed money from the Founding members, the money raised at the banquet, the funds from Mrs. Venard’s JCPenny award among other donations.
They decided to hold off on further fundraising that spring and award the first grants in the Fall of 1995. The founders delivered a balloon bouquet to each of the winning teachers, along with the check to cover the costs of the requested grant. Mrs. Venard said it was so fun to physically deliver the news and surprise each of the teachers.
Dr. and Mrs. Venard both graduated from Moore High School. Their sons, David and Dustin, graduated from Westmoore High School and Danny, graduated from Moore High School.
Steve Buchanan is the owner/broker of Buchanan Realty Group in Oklahoma City. He is a commercial realtor, developer, and builder. Steve grew up in the family grocery business – Buchanan Food Marts – which at one time had five stores in the south Oklahoma City and Moore areas. He was a third-generation grocer – the business was started by his grandfather and was operated by the family for over 50 years until it was sold in 1999 to Fleming Foods. During the sale of the company, Steve learned about the real estate business and became interested enough to make it his second career.
Steve attended Moore schools throughout his childhood and graduated from Moore High School. He and his wife, Cathy, have been very involved in MPS activities for years – as their two daughters also attended Moore schools. Steve has always had the desire to help his community and the local schools. He was a founding member of the Moore Public School Foundation when it originated in 1995 and served as President at one time. Through the grocery stores and their mascot, "Bucky", Steve was instrumental in raising funds and bringing the Moore Police Department’s anti-drug program (D.A.R.E.) to the Moore Elementary Schools. He also served as the Co-Chairman/Chairman of the Red Ribbon Parade in downtown Moore for 23 years.
Steve captured memories for many families in Moore schools by photographing numerous Moore and Westmoore athletic events, groups, and proms. He has built lasting relationships through his involvement with MPS.
Steve currently serves on the INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center Board as Past President and he is a member of the South OKC Rotary Club.
In his "spare" time, Steve enjoys flying, photography, fishing and traveling.
Anita Horn grew up on the outskirts of Oklahoma City in a dedicated, agriculture based family, where she learned the values of hard word. Anita considers her greatest blessings her husband of 35
years, Hoby, their 3 daughters, 3 sons-in-law and 6 Grandloves:
Mandy & Ty Kincannon, Emmie & Dax
Haley & Tommy Noles, Paisley & Sunny
Natalie & Chance Baker, Beau & Dylan
Working alongside Hoby at a desk and in the shop, they built their family and their business-Horn Equipment Company-together in Moore. Hoby and Anita have always worked at advocating for Moore Public Schools. In the early 1980s, they paid their employees and the spouses of their employees to go door to door lobbying votes that would help increase the state's education budget through horserace betting profits. Hoby, a Moore High School graduate and Anita always felt it was important to raise their children in the public school system and were always proud to do so. All three of their daughters and their sons-in-law are graduates of Moore High School.
When their eldest daughter Mandy started kindergarten at Northmoor Elementary, Anita's community service began as a homeroom mother. Seeing that she could work this into her schedule, then grew to years of PTA service, participation in other community groups, and her service to the Moore Public Schools Foundation.
During her time with MPSF, Anita worked on numerous projects. Most memorably, she authored and received two grants through the Margaret Annis Boys Trust which provided new landscaping to Westmoore High School following the May 3, 1999 tornado which had caused $12 million in damages to the school. She also began the MPSF endowment at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation in 2001.
Above all, she says the definite highlight of her time with the Foundation was seeing and hearing the tears, screams, and excitement of the teachers that received grants for their classrooms. She takes great pride in knowing this work continues from year to year, providing teachers with the tools to make learning memorable and fun. She is thankful for the board members, donors, and community partners of MPSF that provide such a much-needed kindness to Moore Public Schools classrooms.
Sherry Howell has lived in South OKC all of her life, graduating from Capitol Hill High School. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and Business from the University of Central Oklahoma. She has known since kindergarten her passion was for teaching and serving others, but her most significant accomplishment is being a wife, mother, and grandmother. She has been married to her husband Larry for 47 years. Her daughter Traci and granddaughter Maci are her pride and joy.
Sherry has always had a desire to “leave her footprint” in South Oklahoma City. In 1976, she and a number of women assisted Helen Cole in creating a Republican Women’s Club for South OKC. She was a co-founder and board member of Moore Public Schools Foundation from 1995-2000. It was a time of need within Moore Public Schools. It was the dream of numerous teachers and students to add hands-on academic technology as well as cultural experiences to their classrooms. MPSF listened to these needs and fulfilled them by improving the students’ learning experiences in and outside the classroom through teacher grants.
Sherry was a founder, past president and Board member of Oklahoma City Community College Foundation from 1998 to present. She worked with Mayor Kirk Humphreys on the OKC Go program that was put into motion in 1999 at OCCC. During 1998-2007 Sherry served on the Integris Southwest Medical Center FoundationExecutive Board and held the position of Finance Chair.
One of her greatest legacies for South OKC is Women of the South. Sherry along with 8 other women founded the first philanthropic group in South OKC and named it appropriately-Women of the South.
Since it’s inception on April 1, 1995, WOS has awarded hundreds of scholarships and participated in many cultural and community projects throughout the South Oklahoma City and Moore area. WOS has Scholarship opportunities for women who are the primary provider to attend OCCC, as well as college scholarships available to all Moore Schools and Southside high school senior girls who qualify according to need. Women of the South facilitates Sherry’s passion for education by reaching those who may not have had an opportunity otherwise. Sherry truly believes each person deserves a higher education.
In addition to her South OKC work, Sherry has contributed to numerous organizations and foundations throughout the Oklahoma City area. She was an active parent and teacher at Living Word Academy until it closed in 1986. She and 7 other parents and business owners founded Oklahoma Christian Academy on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University. Mayor Kirk Humphreys appointed her to be a co-chair of the Civic Center Renovation in 1998-2000. The renovation evolved into the Civic Center Foundation in which she served from 2000-2011. Sherry continued to work with Mayor Humphreys on the MAPS Project.
Sherry’s love and dedication to South OKC along with her desire to teach and assist others in achieving their goals is why Sherry Howell is a shining light for South Oklahoma City.