Oklahoma Teacher of the Year for 1981, Kathlyn Ann (Roberts) Reynolds, coaches her Singing Blue Angels group of 94 sixth graders from Wiley Post Elementary School of Putnam City in the rotunda of the Oklahoma state capitol. This image, by photographer Vince Hennigan, originally was published in the Oklahoma Times and is provided courtesy of The Gateway to Oklahoma History and the Oklahoma Historical Society.
A native of Shawnee, OK, Kathlyn is of the family of Remulous and Mary Jane "Jennie" (Pring) McCollough, pioneers who came to Oklahoma in the Land Run of 1892, which opened 3.5 million open acres of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation to settlement. Kathlyn's grandfather, Charles "Wilson" Kennedy, was of the Pottawatomie nation of Native Americans.
Kathlyn received her bachelor of music in voice degree from the University of Oklahoma, where she met her husband, Charles "Robert" Reynolds. She went on to a 46-year teaching career, including 23 years in the Putnam City School District, with assignments at Putnam City Central, Tulakes and Wiley Post. In 1972, she was voted "Teacher of the Year" by her fellow faculty members. Then in 1981, she received the statewide teacher of the year recognition. Adding to her honors, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Educators' Hall of Fame in 1994.
In 2004, some 14 years after she retired, Kathlyn and fellow teacher Christi Cari Miller co-authored the music for Little Donkey's Easter Journey, a musical demonstrating the joy of the Christian holiday through the eyes of animals who witnessed Holy Week in Jerusalem. She was featured in a related Daily Oklahoman article headlined "Longtime Putnam City teacher too busy to dive into retirement," which quoted her saying she "was the most miserable retiree ever. I wasn't ready to give up music and children."