ActivePaper Archive Choctaw educator recognized - Oklahoman, 12/6/2002

Choctaw educator recognized

The education director of the Choctaw Nation was surprised Thursday to learn state regents had a special award for her — “Champion of Student Success.”

Joy Culbreath, invited to the meeting under the guise that officials wanted her to explain how she helps educate Choctaws in southeastern Oklahoma, said the day turned out to be more than memorable.

“I will never forget this day and the honor you have paid to me,” Culbreath said.

Culbreath was honored for her efforts to find Choctaws eligible for college aid through the tribe, an endeavor that helped about 400 students in 1998.

Now, 2,300 Choctaws are receiving college aid. Most live in the 10 1 /2 counties in southeastern Oklahoma that comprise the Choctaw Nation.

“We understand education is our way up; it is freedom for our people,” she said.

Culbreath, 63, became education director a decade ago.