Stillwater Educator Named Special Services Director of the Year

Stillwater Educator Named Special Services Director of the Year
Melisa Kifer Executive Director of Special Services Photo credit: SPS
Story provided by Barry Fuxa, PR & Communications Coordinator of Stillwater Public Schools

Melisa Kifer, Executive Director of Special Services for Stillwater Public Schools, has been named the 2024 Director of the Year by the Oklahoma Directors of Special Services.  

Kifer was recommended for the honor by Alison Taylor. Taylor is a first-year director-mentee of Kifer's and a former Stillwater special education teacher.

The organization considered several accolades in their selection of Kifer for the honor. Under her extensive planning and guidance, SPS recently completed a five-year transition to digital special education and Section 504 records.  Recognizing the importance of identifying additional funding sources for her department, she implemented a Medicaid billing system for speech/language therapy for the 2023-24 school year, with plans to add physical and occupational therapy next year. Kifer has also been instrumental in refreshing the Stillwater Pioneer Pathfinders, a transition program for students with special needs ages 18 to 22.  

Stillwater’s first-year Director of Special Services and Behavior Analyst Austin Hula says,  “When we are attending conferences or ODSS meetings, I will often hear, ‘you’re lucky you are working with one of the best in the state, and I could not agree more.”  

“I am honored and humbled to be named the Director of the Year,” says Kifer. “ODSS is an amazing organization that is comprised of individuals who have dedicated their lives to special services for children. SPS is a fantastic district providing the highest opportunity for all children. Our special services teachers and staff are the best in the state, and that is why I love coming to work every day.”

Kifer will officially receive her award at the CCOSA Summer Leadership Conference in June.  

Superintendent Uwe Gordon describes Kifer as “the kind of creative, progressive, divergent thinker we all hope will work with our children.  Her ability to lead students and faculty and give them practical application never ceases to amaze me.”

Read more