Westwood Elementary’s Celeste Fox – Teacher of the Month Presented by Simmons Bank

By John Tranchina

For Celeste Fox, being named the Stillwater school district’s Teacher of the Year was a well-deserved reward for 26 years of outstanding service at Westwood Elementary, and she thought it was somewhat fitting that it came in the final year of the school’s existence at the building in which she began teaching. The district is building a new Westwood adjacent to the old site, where school will resume in the fall.

“It was a fantastic honor,” said Fox, 53, who teaches second grade. “They’re building a new building there, so it’s kind of fun that in the last year in the building that I started in… I was overwhelmed, because both of the ladies that I was running with (for the district award) were equally deserving. It was just a huge honor.”

Simmons Bank branch manager Shelbye Spencer presents Stillwater’s Celeste Fox with her Teacher of the Month award.

Fox has taught second grade for 25 of her 26 years at Westwood and loves teaching kids that age (usually seven and eight years old).

“I think that their sense of humor is amazing, and they continue to grow so much from the beginning to the end of the year,” she said of second graders. “They’re able to springboard and learn so many more things, and they’re still carefree enough that their creativity isn’t inhibited by their peers. It’s just so much fun, they’re the best.”

Much of her enjoyment of being a teacher is tied to the relationships she starts to establish with a new group of students each August.

“Every year you get to build relationships with new people, and teaching is learning about each individual and moving each individual forward,” Fox said. “And when you continue to teach the same grade, you feel more confident in the skills that they need, so you can focus as much on the individual child and helping them move forward to the best of their ability. It’s just all about learning what makes each child grow and want to do their best.”


Fox’s husband Paul is a deputy sheriff in Stillwater and they have three children and one son-in-law. Her daughter and son-in-law, Regina and Jacob Loftiss, live in Pensacola, Florida, and her youngest, son Isaac, is currently a student at Oklahoma State, which of course, is in Stillwater.

Her second daughter Carmen is possibly on the verge of following in mom’s footsteps as a teacher, and Celeste admits she has conflicted feelings about that.

“Carmen is a pre-school teacher at Presbyterian Pre-school,” said Fox, who also teaches an adjunct class at OSU for the College of Education. “She’s still working on whether or not that’s what she’s going to get certified in. It’s kind of a hard call (on supporting that path), because you don’t want them to struggle financially, but she has the passion for it and that’s what she wants to do, and you have to do what you love.”

That’s really what it is all about for her.

“I am lucky enough to love what I do and look forward each year to meeting a new group of children,” Fox said. “It’s great to be able to go to work every day and enjoy what you do.”