GROVE – The Grove Educational Foundation for Excellence will honor this year’s Shining Star recipient during its annual banquet on Saturday at Shangri-La Resort.

The three nominees are Julie Bloss, Early Childhood Center principal, Ed Trumbull, middle school teacher and Paige Yarborough, upper elementary school teacher. The Shining Star honoree receives a $500 cash award and a trophy. The runners-up also receive a trophy and cash award.

The foundation reviewed over 57 grants submitted by educators and chose the top three recipients.

“We chose grants that express creativity which promotes GEFFE’s primary goal of excellence in education,” said Kristi Wallace, GEFEE president.

Since 1997, the foundation has donated over $1.4 million to Grove schools through its funding of grants and special projects, she said.


Bloss’s grant “ABL- Action Based Learning. We are ABLE to Move, Focus and Learn” allowed her to create an Action Based Learning Lab.

The $22,250 grant created the lab with 12 different action stations that facilitate learning through movement. Each week teachers at the Early Childhood Center campus rotate through the lab with their students where they jump, wiggle, and climb through the stations while music plays. 

“Action Based Learning is based on the brain research that strongly supports the link between movement and learning,” Bloss said. “Students engaged in Action Based Learning show improved memory retention, increased focus and attention, improved grades, and less behavioral issues.”

Bloss was named top Oklahoma Elementary School Principal of the Year in 2012 by the Oklahoma Association of Elementary School Principals.


Trumbull’s $5,600 grant “Let’s Get Growing Again,” was used to refurbish the foundation’s greenhouse.

“The educational benefits of a greenhouse are multi-faceted,” Trumbull said. “A greenhouse can be utilized to teach a wide range of botany lessons.”

Not only gardening skills are learning, financial lessons as well, he said.

He was named the Shining Star in 2002 and has received many awards and honors including Liberty Teacher of the Year, Grove Middle School Teacher of the Year, Walmart Teacher of the Year, and is a four-time winner of the Masonic Teacher of Today award. 


Yarborough was nominated for her grant “Genius TIME: Growing our Grove Geniuses.”

The $2,182 grant provided students with versatile STEAM kits that can be used multiple times to create various claws, robots, and bots as well as access to the Generation Genius curriculum for the entire Grove Upper Elementary.

Generation Genius helps unlock creativity by giving students opportunities to solve real-world problems, foster lifelong creativity, and develop critical thinking skills, she said.

Yarborough was named the 2022 Grove Upper Elementary Teacher of the Year and is a finalist for the Grove District Teacher of the Year.

Grove is classified as a 5A school with six campuses with a student population of 2,500 students, 180 faculty members, and 134 support staff members.