The addition of a dedicated staff member for the Norman Public School Foundation moves the nonprofit organization to another level in terms of support and community awareness.

The foundation, begun in 1984 when the oil boom went bust, has been run mostly by dedicated school support personnel who had other jobs to do and by a caring board that pitched in for all kinds of tasks.

More than 1,600 teacher grants have been awarded since 1984. The endowment is added to through an annual spring appeal and by memorials and tributes throughout the year.

But now with the hiring of Jenny Dakil as executive director, the foundation has a more permanent presence. Ms. Dakil, a longtime board member and community volunteer, will occupy an office in the district's administration building on Flood Avenue.

While the foundation's presence will be amplified with Ms. Dakil's work, its mission remains the same as it was when it began 21 years ago: Help the district by funding those small, extra projects that enhance the learning experience.

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