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Betty Permetter Falato

She was born in Earlsboro, OK.
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Betty Katherine Falato (nee Permetter) is a native of and grew up in Earlsboro, OK. While living there with her parents, Coyle and Rosa Lee, and her nine siblings, she attended Douglass Grade School in Earlsboro and also attended Dunbar High School in Shawnee, OK, for three years. In Betty's senior year, her parents, assisted by the NAACP, were instrumental in winning a court decision that mandated desegregation of the Earlsboro schools. As a result of the campaign by Betty's and other parents and the subsequent decision, Betty was the first female to integrate Earlsboro High School. Her brothers John and Coyle enrolled at the same time. Betty earned a BS in Mathematics and a MA in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. Later in her career, she also earned a MS in Civil Engineering, with a focus on transportation engineering, from the University of California at Berkeley. Betty completed her career at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Headquarters (HQ) in Washington, DC, where she was a Senior Systems Engineer in the Air Traffic Organization. She worked with both the Air Traffic and Commercial Space Transportation Organizations to identify future strategies for integrating air and space transportation in the nation's airspace.

Encouraged by her parents, Betty has designed her life around cultivating strong and diverse alliances, opening pathways for others, laying solid foundations, and encouraging others to lead productive lives. Prior to attending college, she became the pianist at her local Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Betty was hired as a telephone operator at the Pottawatomie Telephone Company in Earlsboro and was the first woman to integrate that staff. Betty worked as an undergraduate college student to help pay her tuition. She was involved in a number of diversity workshops as a means to help bring about greater understanding among races. Betty and other students integrated public restaurants and other facilities without violence or incidents.

Betty's first job out of college was with Contractor's Supply Co. in Oklahoma City, OK, where she was the first person to integrate the staff. Betty then began her career in information technology at the FAA in Oklahoma City and was the first black woman on the computer programming staff. After several years, Betty became an instructor at the FAA Academy and was the first woman to integrate the Data Systems Specialist instructor staff. There, Betty developed and taught information technology courses to Air Traffic Controllers to assist them in preparing for a second career. Betty also volunteered at the YWCA in Oklahoma City where she chaired the Public Affairs Committee and recruited other members. Under Betty's leadership, the Public Affairs Committee established the first Women's Resource Center in Oklahoma City. The Center was a collaborative effort with YWCA leaders Edie Draper, Reba Cormack, and the Public Affairs Committee members. Betty was a member of the "Les Mannequins" Modeling Club, which was started by Juanita Davis. Club members worked with young black women, seeking employment, to promote the skills of good grooming and good work habits. "Les Mannequins" participated in and sponsored many community activities including, one year, a candidate for "Miss Universe.

Betty attended the Episcopalian Community of the Epiphany in Oklahoma City, which was made up of a diverse membership. At Epiphany, she worked with other members and continued her efforts to bring about greater understanding and promote harmony among the races. Betty also worked with other community groups such as the Urban League and led discussion groups for the American Institute of Discussion, sponsored by the Oklahoma City Public Libraries.

Betty was transferred to FAA HQ in Washington, DC, and later to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation where she served on the staff for four years as a Management Analyst. Betty was transferred again to the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ, where she was assigned as an Operations Research Analyst. After several years, Betty returned to FAA HQ and became a Senior Systems Engineer. In this position, she has written various agency-wide acquisition plans and guidance documents. She has led teams and mentored and assisted younger employees in acquiring systems to support the National Airspace System. Betty is also a member of the Air Traffic Control Association. She supports several DC community groups including the National Symphony Orchestra Women's Committee, DC Black History Celebration Committee, and Bread for the Soul, which is an organization that supports local programs, and orphanages in South Africa, for children born with the HIV/AIDS virus.* Betty attends St. John's Episcopal Church at Lafayette Square in DC [known as "The Church of the Presidents"].** Through St. John's, Betty, as a church leader, works with the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) â?? a subsidiary of the "Industrial Areas Foundation," a national community organizing foundation. WIN is a Non-Denominational Non-Partisan organization of 53 churches and other organizations across DC that assists local DC neighborhoods to improve their schools and communities. As an example of the successful efforts that Betty has contributed to this organization, she worked on the education committee with her husband and other Washington Interfaith Network leaders that helped to bring 25 schools up to code in four months.

Betty has traveled extensively throughout the world with her husband Adam and has made lasting alliances. Most of her awards have come through her education and her FAA career. For example, she represented her high school, and placed, in several interscholastic competitions. In the Office of the Secretary of Transportation and the FAA she received several individual special achievement and outstanding awards. In the FAA, Betty also received awards for her work as a team leader and member of several program initiatives. These included an award for assisting in the development of a mentoring program for women employees and awards for supporting the future National Airspace System design. Most of Betty's rewards have come from seeing the results of her work.

Betty still supports her church at Earlsboro as well as other Earlsboro community activities. Her hobbies are reading, researching family history, sewing, and playing the harp.

* These organizations are directed by Charles Hicks.

** The Reverend Dr. Luis Leon is the rector of St. Johnâ??s.