OKLAHOMA CITY – EPIC Charter Schools’  Lee Roland, who leads the school’s Principal Leadership Development program, has been inducted into the Oklahoma African American Educators (OAAE) Hall of Fame. Ceremonies were held on September 27 at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, where Roland was recognized as “A Difference Maker.”

The OAAE Hall of Fame recognizes and honors African American educators or support personnel who have made a significant contribution in Oklahoma. Honorees must have worked as an administrator or teacher in Oklahoma at the elementary, middle, secondary or college level; have contributed to and influenced the education and lives of the students; and have been a community worker and/or leader.

“Being inducted into the Oklahoma African American Educators Hall of Fame is both tremendously humbling and encouraging to me. Therefore, I would be remiss not to share my appreciation to any and everyone that has poured into me, directly or otherwise. My achievements are the results of a wonderful family, supportive colleagues and some of the absolute most amazing teachers on earth,” Roland said.

Of his 30 years in public education, Roland spent 12 of them as principal of Tulakes Elementary in the Putnam City Public School District. The once-failing Tulakes struggled with high suspension rates and teacher turnover as well as a 100 percent free and reduced lunch student population. Under Roland’s care, the school is now considered one of the best in Putnam City.

Born in Guthrie, Roland has devoted his life to public education and community service, and comes from a family of educators and community leaders who did the same. His mother was a teacher and his father a pastor.

Roland currently sits on numerous boards, including The Spero Project, Stronger Together and Hope for Generations. He also is a commissioner on the Oklahoma Commission for Children and Youth. Further, he uses his gift of motivational speaking to travel the state and inspire students and educators. He became EPIC’s director of principal leadership development earlier this year.

EPIC Superintendent Bart Banfield praised Roland for devoting his professional career to the betterment of Oklahoma schools and student success and said the Hall of Fame could not have selected a better individual to honor this year.

“When Lee was chosen to be EPIC’s director of principal leadership development, we knew he would bring a lifetime of passion and commitment to improvement for which he is so well known,” Banfield said. “This induction into such a prestigious line of educational history is highly appropriate for such a gifted and motivated educator. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”