PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island - Rhode Island's Education Commissioner Deborah Gist is a step closer to leaving after the Tulsa School Board of Education voted Monday to offer her a contract to become the district's next superintendent according to WPRI, the CBS affiliate in Providence, Rhode Island.

In a statement, Gist said she “enthusiastically agreed to begin these negotiations.”

“This was a difficult decision for me, as I am proud of all that we have accomplished together in Rhode Island over the past six years,” Gist said.

“I love this state and the people I've come to know, and I am excited about the opportunities that lie before us as we develop our next five-year strategic plan. Nevertheless, inspired by the great work we've done, I welcome the opportunity to lead an urban school district – in particular the district in the city where I was raised and where my family resides.”

Gist attended Tulsa public schools for kindergarten through 12th grade before earning her undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma. She was one of two finalists in the search to replace retiring Superintendent Keith Ballard.

Gist has been Rhode Island's education commissioner since 2009.