The Pryor Times

Local News

July 1, 2014

Holloway: a woman of inspiration

Pryor Times — She is a fierce addition to the Pryor community, and now Laura Holloway has been nominated for a Williams Woman of Inspiration award.

“I did not make it to the final five but really it was an honor to be nominated,” said Holloway, who now serves as the Pryor Recreation Center Director. “It's an honor to be considered with those ladies. And that i'm not from Tulsa like most of the nominees makes it even more special.”

Now in it's fourth year the nominees are women who “serve Tulsa and the surrounding area with dedication and passion while impacting the lives of area youth and the community,” according to Williams Companies Inc., of Tulsa, the company behind the award.

Holloway has been in education over 33 years and has been a Pryor tiger for 20 years.

She took teams to state championships and served as both a coach and a physical education teacher before being hired as the Health and Wellness Director for Pryor Public Schools.

Holloway was the driving force behind the $1million grant endowed on Pryor schools in 2011 and numerous Cherokee Nation health grants.

She serves as the only Oklahoman ambassador for the American Alliance for Healthier Generations, an organization championing for healthier children.

Holloway secured grants for school gardens and for improvements to the outdoor classroom. In addition she secured a $60,000 grant for the district Farm to School Program and a Fuel up to Play 60 grant.

But the achievement she says she's most proud of was being named 2011 District Teacher of the Year.

When it came to naming her projects, programs and achievements in Pryor Schools, Superintendent Don Raleigh said he couldn't begin to give an accurate account of the scope of her work. He said she's done more than anyone can imagine.

In addition to the grants Holloway has implemented the Safe Routes to School program complete with the walking school bus. She championed the after school walking club, SPARK Curriculum and Brain Breaks.

Holloway made it her priority to create a culture of health and wellness for Pryor students and faculty.

“She is tenacious, she won't take no for an answer,” said Raleigh of the nominee during a back-to-school rally at the start of this school year.

Holloway worked hand in hand with various staff members to implement programs fitting the needs of each school.

Holloway brought SPARK curriculum and Brain Breaks to Pryor students.

“SPARK is a physical education curriculum I was able to purchase for Pryor, prior to that P.E. Teachers had no curriculum to teach from,” said Holloway. “SPARK emphasizes that every child is successful. It teaches sharing, team work and physical education.”

In addition to sending teachers to SPARK training Holloway secured enough P.E equipment to ensure all students had a chance to participate, no more standing around observing.

Brain Breaks, Holloway said,  are based on the premise that more learning occurs when the body is moving regularly.

“Active Based Learning says that your age determines how frequently you need to get up and get moving. So a five year old needs to take a movement break about every five minutes and a 50 year old needs to get moving about every 50 minutes for optimal brain function” said Holloway.

Leaving no wellness stone unturned, Holloway took a proactive approach to school nutrition. She secured a grant to hire a school nutritionist that provides nutrition education.

“With that nutrition education students took field trips to Homeland, and they had Food Showdowns just like on the Food Network, to see who could create the healthiest meal. We also worked with bike powered blenders so students could pedal their way to nutritious smoothies,” said Holloway.

“Everything starts with something,” said Holloway. “You get champions behind you and great things happen.”

Holloway will be honored as a nominee during an awards ceremony Saturday. Women's Basketball Hall of Famer and Langston Women's Basketball Head Coach cheryl Miller will speak during a reception prior to the Shock game. One past recipient of the honor was Tulsa's Kathy Taylor.

“Laura is a woman of great determination who has worked tirelessly to change and improve the entire culture of our school district toward making health and wellness a priority for our students and staff,” said Raleigh, who was not surprised to hear of Holloway's nomination. “Her leadership has certainly made a difference.”

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