The award was presented on Thursday, February 6, 2020 at the Black Canyon Conference Center in Phoenix.
As Mrs. Oxford openly demonstrates and discusses, her passion and desire is to advocate and serve gifted students in all schools. She is committed to providing services and opportunities that address the entire child, including their unique social and emotional needs.
Superintendent Dr. Kristi Sandvik enthusiastically endorsed Mrs. Oxford’s recognition as being well deserved.
“I am continually amazed by Gail’s selfless commitment to her students,” Dr. Sandvik said. “She embodies what it means to be passionate about student success. I’ve known her for ten years, and I cannot overstate the impact that she has had on all BESD learners. She is truly a local legend in our schools and community.”
A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Mrs. Oxford lives in the city that she serves, Buckeye, Arizona. She has been an educator for 43 years, and has spent 20 of those years in gifted education. She has taught a variety of subjects and grades, including 1st grade through 8th grade civics, physical science, biology, language arts, learning disabled special education, and her current assignment, gifted education.
Currently she travels to four different BESD schools twice per week in order to help meet the needs of kindergarten through 8th grade gifted learners. In working with them, she has taught subjects as varied as oceanography, geology, Spanish language, world cultures, financing, astronomy, agriculture, chemistry, physics, and math. Further, she has exposed the gifted students to performing arts by taking them to plays, art museums, and orchestra performances.
It is not unusual to find Mrs. Oxford volunteering during her own time to facilitate such trips or event participation, and it is one of the reasons she is so widely recognized as such a committed educator who makes the profession proud with her relentless effort.
It is not unusual to find her taking gifted students on field trips that correlate with gifted standards and curriculum on her own time. By her students’ sides, she has facilitated visits to the the ASU Space and Earth Exploration Day, Colossal Cave, Pima Air Museum, Sonoran Desert Museum, Grand Canyon Caverns, Bearazona, the Titan Missile Facility, and the U of A Planetarium.
If it may spark or sustain curiosity or learning, Mrs. Oxford is known as being “all in” for her students.
“Gail makes each student feel like their ‘Nana’ has arrived to take them to Disneyland and that’s just during a regular lesson,” shared Chryste Berda, Buckeye’s District Gifted Education Coordinator.
Mrs. Oxford is also focused on helping other teachers become better equipped to teach gifted learners because effectively meeting the needs of those students requires enhanced skills and knowledge. As part of this effort, she has taught and assisted teachers at all seven BESD schools. Whether it’s through working directly with students or with other teachers, her impact is undeniable.
With whatever time is left over for herself, Mrs. Oxford can be found with her family, riding her horse, reading a book, or fishing.