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Welcome to McAuliffe Elementary School, home of the McAuliffe Challengers.

McAuliffe Elementary School Mission

At McAuliffe Elementary our mission is to unite families, school staff, and the community to assist students in their pursuit of becoming life-long learners and leaders.
We will hold students accountable to high expectations while meeting individual academic needs. 
We will inspire students to discover and pursue their individual talents.
We will encourage students to set and achieve goals.
We will instill in students the value of giving back by providing opportunities to serve others.

Christa McAuliffe Elementary School
6515 S. Garnett 
Broken Arrow, OK 74012-8529

Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
School Hours - Monday-Thursday: 7:50 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. / Friday: 8:15 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.

Main Phone: 918-357-4336
Fax: 918-357-6599

Principal Rita Long

Administrative Intern Lisa Gildea
Community Schools Coordinator Emma Thadani
Counselor Twy Gardner 918-357-6584
Contact School Nurse

Union Schools
1-855-4ALERT1, ext. 1221



Union SchoolsOur Vision Statement
McAuliffe is a place where:
Leaders are
Empowered to
Achieve academic excellence
Dream without boundaries
Embrace their community
Reach their destiny

Our Motto:
Be a Leader

Student Pledge:
I am a leader, empowered to:
Achieve academic excellence, dream without boundaries, embrace my community, and reach my destiny!

Christa McAuliffe Elementary was built in 1988 and named in honor of the teacher – the first teacher in space - who died during the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster on Jan. 25, 1986.

McAuliffe is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. High standards for quality education are assured by membership in NCA. This accreditation is based on the school’s commitment to excellence and quality programs.

Union SchoolsPrograms

Leader in Me School

At McAuliffe Elementary, we are undergoing an entire school transformation.  In 2010 a few teachers began reading the book Leader in Me by Stephen R. Covey.  They were inspired by the practice of providing unique leadership opportunities for students who can transform student’s lives while improving academic success.  After partnering with Panda Express Panda Cares program and State Farm Insurance, our teachers have received specialized training from the Stephen Covey Foundation The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®.  We also have had the opportunity to begin the implementation process of Leader in Me.  We are in Year One of this process.  In the first year, we are engaged in a shared vision of the greatness and leadership that are inherent in every child and adult. We are studying the timeless, universal principles that allow us to realize our potential and make specific plans for implementing leadership principles at McAuliffe and our classroom cultures.

Over the next three years, we will create a leadership program for students and teachers that will change lives.  Leader in Me schools have proven academic success, few discipline problems, and powerful school culture that creates lasting change.  We are excited to be a part of this unique journey.

Union SchoolsMulti-year class placement (Looping)

At McAuliffe Elementary, we are interested in students, teachers and families developing long-term relationships to better meet the needs of individual learners. McAuliffe is participating in multi-year relationships by having many teachers stay with the same students for two years.  For example if a child is in kindergarten, he or she will stay with the same teacher for kindergarten and first grade. Teams of teachers will also loop from second to third and fourth to fifth. We know that the relationship of teachers to student, to the parents, to other teachers, and to the curriculum is critical throughout a child’s education.  Some of the benefits of a child staying with the same teacher for two years are:

  • The teacher develops a deeper understanding of students’ learning styles and needs, both academic and emotional.
  • In year two with a teacher, the teacher knows exactly where the child is academically so there is no need for extensive review.
  • The teacher understands the students’ family dynamics and the parents’ needs and expectations regarding their children’s education.
  • The teacher can approach the curriculum in more depth, knowing that there is more time to help students make connections in their learning.
  • Students already understand classroom procedures, rules and expectations.

Student Council

McAuliffe provides leadership opportunities for students in grades 3-5.  These students are selected by their peers and teachers to lead McAuliffe in schoolwide community projects.  These projects include a schoolwide improvement plan where student council focuses on one project throughout the year that will benefit the school.  Student council also coordinates community service projects that include a schoolwide Recycling program and the annual Salvation Army canned food drive.   

Challenger Choir

The choir is a fourth and fifth grade select musical group. They perform at community and district-wide ceremonies as well as school-based concerts. Students involved in the Challenger Choir practice before school.  They are under the direction of music teacher Craig Snowbarger.

Union SchoolsSafety Patrol

Fifth graders exhibiting leadership capabilities are able to participate in the school’s safety patrol.  This group aids our staff in supervising the safe arrival and dismissal of students throughout the school on a daily basis.  Physical education teacher Michelle Poullard-Burks sponsors this group.

School Broadcast

CNN (Challenger News Network) is produced by fifth grade students under the supervision of media specialist Janet McCoy and music teacher Craig Snowbarger. The broadcast is designed to inform the students and staff of important school information such as menus, specialty schedules and upcoming events as well as other special bits of news.

Steps to Respect

Even kids can help prevent bullying say fifth graders at McAuliffe as they take part in a program called Steps to Respect.  School counselor Twy Gardner visits students in grades 3-5 in their classrooms and takes students and their teachers through role-playing games in which students act out scenes and learn the steps to ending conflict/bullying in a respectful manner.

Biz Town

Fifth graders participate in Junior Achievement’s Biz Town. The program offers our students an opportunity to have first-hand experience with financial literacy, entrepreneurship citizenship, interdisciplinary learning and application skills.

English Language Learners

McAuliffe offers an English Language Learner curriculum to those students for whom English is not a primary language. Students participate in small group instruction that focuses on the English language.

Character Counts

Character Counts is a district-wide program from kindergarten through high school for students and staff. It gives us a common language and encourages outstanding character traits. A new character trait is introduced each month. The six traits that are emphasized are Respect, Responsibility, Caring, Trustworthiness, Fairness and Citizenship.

Community Schools Union Schools

McAuliffe is a community school dedicated to providing all-encompassing support to our families.  Part of this support includes providing students with unique after-school programming that includes academic and enrichment opportunities.  After-school programming includes:

  • Put First Things First Club
  • Team Kids
  • Academic Tutoring
  • Campfire

Principal Biographies

Rita MartinRita Long earned her master’s degree in math and science education from the University of Tulsa. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Oklahoma State University. She began her career at Jenks Public Schools in 1991and served as a classroom teacher, gifted coordinator and curriculum resource instructor.

Long came to Union in 2006 as an assistant principal for Rosa Parks Elementary before transferring to an assistant principal to McAuliffe in 2007. She began serving as principal in 2008.

Lisa Gildea Lisa Gildea was named administrative intern for McAuliffe Elementary School in the summer of 2012.  She has more than 20 years of experience in education.

Gildea started her teaching career in Houston working for Houston Independent School District where she worked for 10 years. She also taught in Pasadena, Texas, and then at Clear Creek Independent School District outside of Houston. When her family moved to Tulsa, she taught for Tulsa Public Schools for one year and spent six years working in Union at Clark Elementary School, teaching fourth and fifth grades. 2012-2013 was her first year at McAuliffe. Gildea is excited to spend another incredible year as the administrative intern at McAuliffe Elementary.

Gildea received her bachelor’s degree in education from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. She received her masters’ degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. She is currently pursuing another degree from Northeastern State University in Broken Arrow.

She enjoys traveling, reading and sports. Gildea also enjoys spending time with her family and friends.