Dan Simmons Memorial Fund Created

posted Mar 10, 2016, 11:49 AM by District Webmaster   [ updated Mar 10, 2016, 12:06 PM ]
We regret to announce that Dan Simmons, who spent his career teaching language arts at College High/Bartlesville High from 1967 to 1998, passed away on March 7, 2016.

Because of his love of teaching and the many students whose lives he touched, the Dan Simmons Memorial Fund has been created. The purpose of the fund will be to benefit the Language Arts Department at Bartlesville High School. 

Contributions to the fund may be sent to:

Bartlesville Public Schools
ATTN: Treasurer
1100 S. Jennings
Bartlesville, OK 74003

signifying the Dan Simmons Memorial Fund.

Dan was born in Ramona, graduating from there in 1964 to attend Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. Early on in his work at NSU, Simmons figured he would major in business and minor in English, as reading had long been a passion. But after having the opportunity to study under some fine professors in the areas of literature, speech, drama and journalism, he decided to change course. Simmons did some tutoring at NSU as well, and soon discovered his passion.

“Seeing the effects of teaching on myself and others,” he recalls, “I finally decided that would be what I most wanted to do with my life.”

Dan Simmons did his student teaching at College High School, which has since evolved into Bartlesville High School. But in early December of 1967, while still months away from graduating from NSU, a full-time position opened up when the expecting speech teacher resigned with her husband on the verge of a job transfer. Simmons was offered the role.

“Technically, I had not graduated from college yet,” recalled Simmons, “but the district administration managed to get permission from NSU and pre-certification approval from the Oklahoma State Department of Education.”

Once he was off and running as a teacher, Simmons never seemed to slow down. He spent his entire career at Col-Hi and – after its consolidation with Bartlesville’s former Sooner High School in 1982 – the freshly formed BHS. From his second year on, he taught mostly advanced placement courses and helped convince administrators to support the AP program. He was the head of the English Department at Col-Hi, and after consolidation, went on to become the English Department chair for the sixth through the 12th grades throughout the district.

Simmons taught several electives, including speech, humanities, and a senior advanced semester course known as Grammar and Composition. He was involved with several extracurricular activities including the International Thespian Society, the foreign exchange program American Field Services and the National Honor Society. In addition, Simmons assisted with creative writing anthologies and several student initiated independent reading and discussion groups.

“Many professions are valuable to the society and personally rewarding to the individual, and almost all are necessary in some respects, but I sincerely believe none more so than education,” said Simmons. “The minimum achievement in providing students with essential lifetime skills is sufficient to that evaluation I think, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg with the differences that a quality education can provide in the lives of students.”

Dan is survived by his wife of 37 years, Jean, who also taught at Bartlesville High. The couple had a son, Terrill Gier, and a grandson, Terrill Gier Simmons, Jr., all of Pawhuska. 

When he received the 2012 Educator Hall of Fame award from the Bartlesville Public School Foundation, Simmons noted that he often reflected back on his rewarding teaching career. He recalled those moments when the “lights came on,” as his students developed a more in-depth knowledge of the subject at hand.

Dan's wishes were to be cremated and that there be no funderal service, but in lieu of flowers, donations to the new Dan Simmons Memorial Fund would be appreciated.
Dan Simmons