Veteran educator Marvin Stokes grew up on a farm in Corley, south of Stratford, Oklahoma. After graduating from high school, Stokes attended East Central University and later received a master’s degree from Oklahoma A&M.
Stokes’ first job after graduating from East Central was teaching math and science and coaching baseball at Vanoss.
In 1936, Stokes moved to Byng schools, his professional home for the next six decades. Stokes started out teaching math, science, speech and debate.
He also coached baseball where he led teams to seven state championships. He continued to coach even after he took on the duties of principal. He won the state Coach of the Year award on three occasions. In 1970, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Stokes became superintendent in 1965, replacing J. E. Teague. During his years as superintendent, the Byng school system experienced phenomenal growth. It progressed from a five-acre campus with seven buildings and an enrollment of 400 to an 83-acre campus with 40 buildings and an enrollment of 1,800 students.
Much of the school’s growth was a result of do-it-yourself projects with many of the buildings built by carpentry and construction trades classes. Stokes has been a staunch defender and advocate of vocational education. He was instrumental in implementing some 13 vocational classes at Byng—more than any other comprehensive high school in the state. Academics were also important to Stokes, and he encouraged students to compete in every possible arena. During his tenure, both Byng High School and Byng Elementary School received the National Blue Ribbon Award given by the U.S. Department of Education.
Stokes spent 62 years of his life in education at Byng Schools. To honor his devotion and accomplishments, the Oklahoma legislature proclaimed May 18, 1998, as “Marvin Stokes Day.”
Mr. Stokes was inducted to the CareerTech Hall of Fame in 1999.