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 Jo Ann Gilford 

Tulsa native, Jo Ann Gilford has spent her life serving the community as a leader and educator. Ms. Gilford has a lasting legacy as the first African American to integrate Tulsa Public Schools in 1961. Additionally, she was the first African American educator to teach both black and white students. Ms. Gilford retired from Tulsa Public Schools after 33 years of service. She currently works as a consultant at McKinley Elementary School. Her many accomplishments and awards include:

  • Formerly employed as Teacher, Supervisor and Principal – also in Public Relations
  • First Parent TV Program
  • Federal Projects Coordinator
  • Classroom Management Consultant
  • TCA Headstart Director
  • Member of the Tulsa Public School Board
  • Served on many community boards, state, local and national boards
  • Phi Delta Kappa Member
  • Proposal Reader for Triple T Programs in Washington, D.C. and Early Childhood at the national level
  • National Teacher of the Year
  • Supervisor of Fine Arts at Gilcrease Summer Program
  • Post-Elementary, Supervisor of Fine Arts After School Program
  • Coordinator HIPPY Program (Home Instruction for Pre-School Youngsters)
  • Integrated Tulsa Public Schools in 1961 (first African American hired to teach whites and African Americans in Tulsa Public School Systems)
  • Appointed by ASCD Executive Council as a member of working group on supervisory practices
  • Former Tulsa Urban League Board Member
  • Former Greenwood Cultural Center Board Member
  • Recipient – Marion E. Taylor, Urban League for Outstanding Service
  • Recipient – Booker T. Washington High School Distinguished Hall of Fame

JoAnn Gilford has two daughters, Michelle and Lisa.  She is grandmother to Ryan, Paige and Nicholas.  She also has three great-grandchildren, Landon and Aalani. 












Plan Your Visit

M–F • 9am – 5pm

322 N Greenwood Ave
Tulsa, OK 74120