‘Lots of smiling faces’ as Yukon students return to classrooms

YPS kicks off new school year with smiles, tears, butterflies

Teacher Sherri Gilchrist leads her kindergarten students in a first-day classroom activity Aug. 11 at Myers Elementary School. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

For Sam Summers, this Thursday was an extra special day.


Yukon’s newest head principal welcomed students in his new role leading Lakeview Intermediate School, 872 S Yukon Parkway.

“Everyone was super-excited to be here,” Summers said shortly after the 2022-23 school year kicked off. “Lots and lots of smiling faces – myself included.”

Summers, his teachers and support personnel this week greeted more than 630 fourth, fifth and sixth graders enrolled to start the fall term.

“This is my favorite age group, so when this position came open, I was really excited about it,” he said.

Lakeview’s new principal comes from Norman, where he was assistant principal at Longfellow Middle School.

Summers succeeds Scott Hein, now head principal at Shedeck Elementary School.

Summers’ first official day with Yukon Public Schools was July 11, and he spent a full month getting ready for students’ return to the classroom.

He first met Lakeview parents and students on a well-attended “Back to School Night” before Thursday’s first school day. The school has more than 70 staff members, including certified teachers and support staff.

“It’s just been fantastic,” Summers said. “Everybody has welcomed me with open arms. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people.”

Yukon Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth (left) stops by Lakeview Intermediate School, where he speaks with new Principal Sam Summers. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
Teacher Crystal Butcher checks on the progress that third graders Grace, Naihla and Suri are making on a project in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) class at Skyview Elementary School. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
Lakeview Intermediate School fourth graders Jesus, Emma and Jeremiah are thrilled to start the 2022-23 school year. They are students in teacher Lena Kofoed’s class. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)


Starting her 12th year as Skyview Elementary principal, Carla Smith said the first day of a new school year is always a treasured occasion.

“I still get the butterflies; it’s still super-exciting,” Smith said. “It’s like Christmas day and the first OU game day. It’s so fun.”

To help parents of Skyview’s new pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students, Smith provided a “Cheers Not Tears” tour before classes began.

“We had a great turnout with that, and I was very excited to see parents involved,” she said.

Skyview Elementary’s 65-member staff (42 of them teachers) welcomed some 460 pre-K through third graders to start the 2022-23 school year.

“We have a fantastic staff and fantastic kids,” Smith said. “It’s just a fresh start and a new, exciting adventure yet to come.”

Among the school’s summer additions were a new playground and cafeteria tables, funded through the Yukon school district’s 2021 bond issue.

“Thank you, community of Yukon!” Skyview’s principal told voters who helped pass the $194 million bond package.

Myers Elementary teacher Hannah Michael greets second grade students Analeyah, Gabe and Carson on the first day of school. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
Yukon Public Schools’ newest head principal, Sam Summers, addresses sixth graders on the first day of school at Lakeview Intermediate School. Summers comes from the Norman school district. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
Teacher Michelle Habibnia and her excited group of first graders begin the 2022-23 school year on Thursday morning, Aug. 11 at Myers Elementary School. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
Teacher Barbi York gathers her Lakeview Intermediate fifth graders for a group photo on Thursday morning, the first day of Yukon’s new school year. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)