Katherine Bishop, President
Katherine Bishop was elected OEA's 98th president in 2021 after serving six years as vice president.
She is a National Board Certified Teacher in Exceptional Needs. Prior to taking office, she was an instructional coach at Putnam City West High School in west Oklahoma City, where she graduated from high school. She spent most of her career - 23 years - as an exceptional needs educator in the Putnam City Public School District, providing moderate to intensive services to elementary students.
In 2000, Katherine was appointed to the National Education Association’s IDEA Special Education Resource Cadre. She co-chaired the Exceptional Needs Standards Committee for National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and was appointed as member of the ELA Work Team for the Common Core State Standards, including subcommittee work on Application to Students with Disabilities.
Katherine has chaired and served on numerous committees at the district and state level, currently chairing OEA’s Budget and Early Career Ad Hoc Committees as well as Co-Chairing ESSA Advisory Panel. As OEA Vice President, Katherine serves on the Oklahoma State Department’s Teacher Shortage and Assessment/Accountability Task Force.
In 2010 Katherine was honored with the Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence Award.
Cari Elledge, VicePresident
Cari Elledge is a fifth grade teacher from Norman, Okla., with 15 years of experience in education. Most recently she served as the full-time release president of the Professional Educators of Norman. She was elected OEA vice president in Spring 2021. After graduating from El Reno High School, Cari earned a bachelor’s in elementary education, with an emphasis on communications, political science and education from the University of Oklahoma. She also earned a master’s in instructional leadership and academic curriculum from OU with an emphasis in reading and social studies education. Cari has been an active leader on the state level for OEA. She served two terms as zone director for Southwest B on OEA’s Board of Directors and six years as chair of the Communications Committee. As a teacher leader in Norman, she helped form a cadre of leaders fully trained in the Marzano model of teacher/leader evaluation. She trained members across the state on NEA’s Degrees Not Debt program and frequently presented professional development sessions on How to Effectively Communicate/Lobby Your Legislators. Politics are a passion for Cari, who was named OEA’s 2019 Gene Rochelle Political Activist award winner. She has volunteered for numerous political campaigns for pro-public education candidates and frequently lobbies throughout Oklahoma’s legislative session.
Carolyn Crowder, Executive Director
Former OEA president Carolyn Crowder was named interim executive director by the Board of Directors in mid-November 2020, and the Board removed the interim title at the end of August 2021. Many OEA members will remember Crowder as president from 1997-2003. Prior to being elected to the association’s highest office, she taught for 20 years. After a year as artist-in-residence for Oklahoma City Public Schools, she spent 19 years in Mustang – nine as a music teacher and 10 as a fifth grade teacher. Crowder brings a wealth of knowledge to help the OEA transition into new leadership. She will serve as interim ED for the next few months as the association holds elections that will bring new statewide officers and conducts national search for the next executive director. As OEA president, Crowder helped form the Oklahoma Education Coalition, bringing together the state’s largest and most influential education organizations. Among the early successes of the OEC were increased salaries for educators, including the largest pay raise in history to that point. Crowder was elected to the NEA Executive Committee following her tenure at OEA president. As a full-time release officer from 2003-09, she worked with other NEA elected officials on national education issues and represented American teachers at education events around the world. Next, Crowder worked four years as the executive director of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association. From 2013-20, Crowder served as the executive director of the Tennessee Education Association.