Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Distinguished Alumni

Carolyn Sights Buckenmaier

Carolyn Sights Buckenmaier - 1999

Carolyn Sights Buckenmaier is a long-time educator who has sought throughout her career to mentor others in the field of educational leadership. She recently completed a 21-year career with the Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia and has embarked on a new career in the neighboring Alexandria City Public Schools.

Buckenmaier earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education at SWOSU. She earned her master’s degree from Midwestern State University in Texas and doctorate from Vanderbilt University. She and her husband, Chet, have two sons, C.C. “Trip” and Erich, and four grandchildren.

Buckenmaier retired in 1997 as director of elementary programs at Fairfax. She directed the school-based planning and evaluation process for 45 elementary schools with approximately 25,000 ethnically, culturally and economically diverse students. During her 21-year stint at Fairfax, she also served as a teacher, assistant principle, principal and coordinator of K-12 instruction.

At Alexandria, Buckenmaier is charged with revitalizing the city’s middle schools. Like many school districts across the nation, Alexandria officials are concerned with the students’ poor academic performances. Buckenmaier initiated a team composed of principals, teachers and leaders from each central office department to compose a document, The Middle School Blueprint for Excellence. As a result, the middle schools are receiving increased attention and support. 

She has also started several other projects at Alexandria, including a peer coaches (teacher trainers) program to help with staff development and an alternative in-school placement program for selected youngsters who have hard times functioning in a regular classroom setting. A personal goal throughout her career has been mentoring others in educational leadership. She recognizes the well developed skills many retirees have and encourages them to return to part-time positions to allow schools to take advantage of the retirees’ skills as work continues to improve public education.