Our school is named after Thomas Jefferson who was the third President of the United States, elected in 1801 and serving until 1809. He is most widely known as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence.
He is one of only two people in history to have accomplished a so-called “Triple Crown,” serving as Secretary of State (under George Washington), vice president (under John Adams), and as President. He died on the Fourth of July, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
School History and Dedication
On February 13, 2007, voters approved a $17 million bond issue, which included $9.5 million for the school's construction. Thomas Jefferson Elementary was built on land purchased from a previous bond issue between 81st and 91st streets and Garnett Road and U.S. 169.
Thomas Jefferson wished to be remembered for three accomplishments from his public life though there are many more for which he was known. He was governor of Virginia. He served as the United States Minister to France. He was Secretary of State for President George Washington. He served as Vice President for John Adams. He was elected our president from 1801-1809. On his tombstone, however, for which he himself wrote the inscription, only these three accomplishments appear:
Our country declared its independence through his words. Our country more than doubled its size through his commissioning of the Lewis and Clark expedition during his presidency. Our country’s children today are assured a free and public education through his strong-held belief that educating the masses was the only sure way to ensure our liberty was preserved.
Our students at Jefferson Elementary study language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and the arts due in part to his efforts. Thomas Jefferson had faith in the common man. He believed the common man could elect wise and virtuous leaders if, and only if, that common man was educated.
Teresa Besses was named principal of Jefferson Elementary in 2023. She had served as assistant principal at Ellen Ochoa Elementary since 2020, after serving as administrative intern for a year. Previously, she worked as a school counselor at Roy Clark Elementary for eight years.
While at Roy Clark, she was named that school’s Teacher of the Year in 2017. In addition to being a school counselor, she has been a licensed therapist since 2013. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Tulsa, a master’s degree in school counseling from Oklahoma State University and received her administration certification from Northeastern State University. Besses is married and has two children.
Celesta Catcher was named assistant principal intern for Jefferson Elementary in the summer of 2021.
Catcher had been serving as a teacher at Grove Elementary since 2008. She has also served as a teacher at Tulsa Public Schools, serving in education since 2008. She has also served as a PTA president.
Catcher received her bachelor’s degree in education from Northeastern State University in 2003, and her master’s degree in school administration in 2020.