Brenda (Jones) Brixey left her hometown of Morrilton, Ark., at 16 with her high school diploma and a home economics scholarship to attend the University of Central Arkansas. Three years later, in 1968, she had a bachelor's degree in vocational home economics and a job offer in Salina, Okla.
She recalls that she only knew three facts about Oklahoma: It had Indians, it had oil, and it was home to Mickey Mantle. Ready for adventure, she finished her student teaching at North Little Rock High School on Friday and began teaching at Salina High School the following Monday.
Oklahoma lived up to her expectations. Some of her students wrote in Cherokee on their assignments, and she discovered Mickey Mantle liked to spend time in Spavinaw, a small town north of Salina. While attending her first state FHA rally, she saw her first oil well — located on the Capitol grounds in Oklahoma City.
Three years later she moved to Adair, where for the next 27 years she would share her love of learning and teach useful life skills to a broad spectrum of students. To maintain her teaching certificate and increase her expertise in family and consumer sciences, she earned postgraduate credits at Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University and Northeastern State University.
Over the course of her career, Brixey was recognized by her students, peers and administrators as a gifted and talented individual whose passion was helping students exceed their own expectations. She was selected as Adair Teacher of the Year in 1991 and OATFACS Teacher of the Year in 1997. She received the NATFACS Distinguished Service Award in 1998 and the National FCCLA Distinguished Service Award in 2002. She has been a continuous member of OkACTE and ACTE since 1969.
In 1998, at the surprising age of 49, Brixey retired with 30 years of service. She continued to serve her professional organizations, however, as Oklahoma STOP coordinator in 1999, national liaison for STOP the Violence in 2001 and as secretary, vice president and president of the Oklahoma Association of Retired CareerTech Education Personnel. Today, she takes an active role in the establishment of the Adair Education Foundation.
Brixey is married to Kenneth Brixey, a member of the Oklahoma Coaches Hall of Fame, and is chief cheerleader at the activities of six grandchildren.
Brixey was inducted to the CareerTech Hall of Fame in 2009.