Dr. Freda Deskin
Dr. Freda Deskin is the Chief Executive Officer/Founder of Advanced Science and Technology Education Charter (ASTEC) Schools in Oklahoma City. ASTEC was the first start-up charter school in the state and serves nearly 1,000 inner-city students in grades 6-12. Dr. Deskin earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Central Oklahoma and a master’s degree in secondary education and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Oklahoma (OU), where she was a National Collegiate Scholastic All-American. She holds a certificate in strategic management from Harvard University and has completed additional coursework in finance at Oklahoma City University (OCU).
Dr. Deskin has been an education leader for over four decades. She taught for fifteen years at the pre-collegiate level and nine years at the University of Oklahoma. She served for six years as a university dean at Oklahoma City University until founding ASTEC Charter Schools in 2000. Dr. Deskin has been honored numerous times at every level for her teaching and leadership skills and for her community commitment. Dr. Freda Deskin has long been an innovator in education, impacting hundreds of thousands of learners. She established the “Oklahoma Odyssey of the Mind,” the Oklahoma Aerospace Academy, the International Aerospace Academy, “Team Quest,” ropes and leadership programs at both OU and OCU and co-founded For Youth Initiatives (FYI) a high school dropout awareness and prevention program. In 1985, Deskin was selected as a finalist in NASA’s “Teacher in Space” project, becoming one of only 100 individuals in the world with the official title of “U.S. Space Ambassador.” Dr. Deskin has been honored by more organizations than can be mentioned, including the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of America and the American Institute of Architects. The University of Oklahoma Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education’s “Career Achievement Award” recognized her continued contribution to education. In addition, a host of education and business leaders have recognized Dr. Deskin with awards and citations for her outstanding contributions.
Dr. Deskin is listed in Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in the World, Outstanding Women in American, 2000 Notable Women in the US, and the 2002 International Who’s Who of Professional Educators. She was named “Woman of the Year” for Oklahoma by the Girl Scouts and was named as one of the “50 Women Making a Difference” in Oklahoma on three occasions, making her eligible for the Journal Record’s “Circle of Excellence.” She received Frank G. Brewer Award for the Southwest Region for outstanding contributions in aerospace education, the prestigious “By-liner” award by Women in Communication, and was named by Enterprising Women magazine as “Enterprising Woman of the Year.” Dr. Deskin has developed programs, curriculum guides and books for national educational organizations such as the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, NASA, Disney’s EPCOT Center and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).
Dr. Deskin has been featured in a number of national publications including Education Week and various educational videos. She is a member of the National and State “Women President’s Organization” (WPO) and the International Women’s Forum. She served on the State Individual’s with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Advisory Panel and is the chair of the Red Earth curriculum committee. Dr. Deskin is a member of Leadership Norman and Leadership Oklahoma City and Leadership Oklahoma. She has been inducted into the Women in Aerospace Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. and the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame.
Harold Roberts brings to ASTEC a wealth of experience as chief administrator of one the first Charters in the State of Oklahoma. His proven success in the role of Director of Development & Operations for Tulsa’s Deborah Brown School is well documented. Among other notable accomplishments at the school, he was instrumental in securing funding for technology; for establishing the first Higher Education Institution Charter School Sponsorship in Oklahoma; and for restructuring the organization to generate unprecedented savings as well as a substantial fund balance for the school.
A native Oklahoman with strong ties to the business, civic and political sectors of the community, Harold has a renowned history of public service in the State. Not only has he served as Assistant Director of Judicial Education for the Oklahoma Supreme Court, but he was recognized by the Mayor of Oklahoma City for ten years of exemplary service as an At-Large member of Oklahoma City’s MAPS Citizens Oversight Board. In that capacity, he chaired the Location Site Review Committee with responsibility for more than $30 million of MAPS expenditures and served on the MAPS Finance and Construction Review Committees.
After graduating from Bishop McGuinness High School, Harold obtained a Legal Assistant degree from Oklahoma Junior College before continuing his studies at Boston College for political science, and Oklahoma City University for public administration. He has more than three decades of experience leading and developing highly effective teams and organizations in multiple industries and disciplines. More importantly, his passion for ensuring the availability of a quality education for Oklahoma’s youth is unrivaled. In returning from Tulsa to Oklahoma City, Harold comes back to a community where he has served on numerous civic Boards and task forces and where he formerly served as Director of Christian Education at his church.
Leo Espinoza is a native of Southern California. He was an independent business owner in Seattle, WA for more than 25 years before moving to Oklahoma City. The ultimate problem solver, Mr. Espinoza invented an invisible process for repairing leather. He is a “Jack-of-all-Trades,” with abilities in construction, plumbing, small engines, electronics and more. Technology, music and electronics have been hobbies for more than 40 years. Mr. Espinoza has won numerous prizes and honors for his knowledge of trivia in the areas of music, history and pop culture. In 2000 Mr. Espinoza, began working with ASTEC on a voluntary basis, resulting in the savings of many tens of thousands of dollars through his abilities in procurement and technology. In the summer of 2003, Mr. Espinoza was hired by ASTEC as a network administrator and procurement officer. He has three grown children, a teenage granddaughter and two schnauzers.
Jennifer Seal, M.A., NBCT
Jennifer Seal joins ASTEC as the Director of Development and Community Relations. She has a master's degree in U.S. History from the University of Central Oklahoma and bachelor's degrees in both history and music education from Oklahoma City University. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and was named the 2010 Oklahoma Preserve America History Teacher of the Year. She was also Oklahoma's James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation scholarship recipient.
Jennifer has been an advocate of better public education for all of her adult life, having worked on public policy issues throughout her teaching career. While teaching, Jennifer was an active Oklahoma Education Association member, and served in leadership on behalf of her colleagues. She has served on the boards of several non-profits, and currently sits on the board of Uptown 23rd Merchant's Association.
She and her husband own Grandad's Bar, also on 23rd street, which has been open for two years. In her non-working hours, you will find her reading, singing and spending time with her friends and family.
Amber Nelson was born and raised in Oklahoma City. She is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma, with her B.A. in Sociology. She feels that the study and understanding of people and humanity has prepared her for personal and professional success. She has a background in management and training, and is very excited to be a part of the ASTEC family.
Her involvement in the Oklahoma City community runs deep and she is committed to stewardship as a way of life. She enjoys coffee, music, nature and spending most of her free time with her Great Dane, American Bulldog and Yorkshire Terrier.
Jenny Gehay was born on Canon Air Force Base in Clovis, New Mexico. As the daughter of a now retired Air Force servicemember, she has lived in Virginia and Okinawa, Japan before finally settling permanently in Oklahoma. She graduated from Carl Albert High School in 2004 and attended Oklahoma Baptist University.
After graduating with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Graphic Design, she began working as a Marketing and Advertising Specialist for the 72d Force Support Squadron for Tinker Air Force Base. She was nominated for Civilian of the Quarter Category V "Newcomer of the Year" in 2009 and received the "Imagination and Innovation Award" in 2009.
She and her husband welcomed their first child together in August 2012. They enjoy golfing and spending time with their two dogs, Mya and Juno.
Heather Jacox is a native of Oklahoma. She is from Edmond, Oklahoma and attended the University of Central Oklahoma where she graduated with bachelor's degree in business finance and with a minor in marketing.
Ms. Jacox enjoys traveling to experience and embrace different cultures. Her time spent in California and in Europe has opened her eyes to diversity. Heather’s prior experience and education are the foundation for her success. Her true passion is in helping people. She believes that joining ASTEC Charter Schools will help her invest in the future success of youth within the community.
Her hobbies include cooking for family and friends. Other hobbies include any form of exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise, such as a long walk or a game of volleyball. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music or curling up with a good book while sipping coffee. Heather has two children.
Stacey Hannan was born in Illinois and grew up in the Illinois and Indiana areas. She attended college in Illinois and has held positions in administration, management, education, customer service and hospitality. She realized her passion for individual education, advanced placement and charter schools while raising her son, whose success in education roots back to a magnet elementary school. Her son's steadfast intellectual growth spurred the development of her own home school support group in Chicago.
Her home school involvement quickly led to working with youth and young adults through the community college. That connection helped provide more opportunities for talent-based individual education in both public and private sectors within their district and the surrounding areas. Now that her son is grown, she and her two dogs have relocated to Oklahoma.
Her old school values, appreciation of cultural diversity, strong connection with nature and animals and desire to maintain a peaceful and balanced lifestyle have brought her back to the setting of some of her fondest childhood memories. While settling in Oklahoma, she was elated to find ASTEC Charter Schools and is proud to be on staff.