Support Employee of the Year

Bri Akins, a classroom assistant at Heartland Middle School, smiles for a picture while holding flowers after being awarded Support Employee of the Year .

Bri Akins was named Heartland Middle School’s 2024 Support Employee of the Year. She works as a Classroom Assistant at Heartland. She has worked at Heartland for three out of the five years she has been with Edmond Public Schools. Ms. Bri is married to her husband Johnny and has a son Paxton, who is an 8th grader at Heartland, and another son Johnny, who is a senior in high school. 

Born in San Bernardino, CA, Ms. Bri moved around California a lot as a child, ending up in Los Angeles until she moved to Agra, Oklahoma at age 16 to live with her grandparents. 

In Oklahoma she experienced a bit of culture shock. Life seemed to move at a slower pace, people were friendlier and it was less chaotic than her life in LA. After graduating high school in a class of 27, Ms. Bri attended OSU. 

Through connections at OSU, Ms. Bri worked for Psychology Specialists of Oklahoma as a case manager. She administered psychological tests and psychologists would review the results in order to evaluate individuals involved in court cases. 

When her son Pax needed surgery, Ms. Bri chose to stay at home with him to help with his rehabilitation, which ended up taking about 3 years. During this time, Ms. Bri was very involved as a classroom mom at Washington Irving, where Pax attended. When Washington Irving started a new behavior program, administrators encouraged Ms. Bri to become involved in the program, which is how she came to work for Edmond Public Schools. When Pax entered sixth grade, Ms. Bri also transitioned to Heartland, where she now works as a Classroom Assistant. 

When asked what she loves most about her job and what motivates her, Ms. Bri explained that she had a rough background as a kid, and got a second chance when her grandparents adopted her. She recognizes that not all students have the same opportunity that she did - to have someone nurturing in their life who is looking out for them. Middle school was one of the most difficult times in her own life and Ms. Bri can relate to Heartland students who are struggling. She loves being able to positively impact students by showing an interest in them and being there for them when they need it. 

Ms. Bri is a social person who loves connecting with teachers and students. She interacts with students in the general education program as well as those in the special education behavioral program. Not only does this increase the amount of students she can positively influence, it also helps the students in the SPED program to feel less like they’re being singled out because they need the extra help. 

Teachers and staff at Heartland had the following to say about Ms. Bri:

"Ms. Bri is an excellent example of kindness, resilience, and school spirit!"

"Ms. Bri is the most dedicated and supportive Classroom Assistant! She is loved by all staff and students alike, which is so apparent by how everyone flocks to her side. She makes sure that all of our students are using their accommodations, she keeps them in line behaviorally, she's always searching for new ways to connect with our kiddos and to build success with them each day, and she builds relationships with every kid that she meets, regardless of their background. We love Ms. Bri! "

In her free time, Ms. Bri enjoys doing crossfit and working out and she also has a real estate license! During summers, Ms. Bri enjoys selling clothing and furniture. She loves the excitement of finding something at a good price, fixing it up and reselling it.

We are so thankful to have Ms. Bri as part of the Heartland family!

Heartland Middle School’s Support Employees of the Year





Zigo Tesfai*

Cafeteria Manager


Becky Rutherford

Classroom Assistant


Debbie Murray*

Media Assistant


Taryn Johnson

Building Manager


Bri Akins*

Classroom Assistant

*District Finalist