'It's Not Easy,' Says Owasso Teacher Turned Senator

Sunday, April 15th 2018, 6:49 pm

From school to the state house, some Green Country teachers are running for office, hoping to make changes to education funding. 

One teacher who made the career switch about three years ago said it's not as easy as it might seem. 

There are hundreds of people hoping to have their name on the November ballot. 

4/13/2018 Related Story: Deadline For Candidates Filing For State Offices Ends Today

Several are teachers, wanting to make the transition from the classroom to the Capitol.

After nearly two weeks away from the classroom for the walkout, some teachers are looking to stick around the Capitol a bit more Permanently as members of the Oklahoma House and Senate. 

"I think so many of my peers have risen because they feel like, 'If not us, then who," said House District 79 Candidate Melissa Provenzano. 

Right now, Provenzano an assistant principal at Bixby High School. 

"I don't really look at it as switching careers. It's the next step in my purpose," she said. 

Jen Youngberg, running for House District 80, has similar feelings.

"Education is my stepping stone for me to really, maybe serve my purpose," Youngberg said. 

She teaches 8th grade English in Haskell and said she made her decision to run before the walkout. 

"My expectations are at first, I'm probably going to be thrown into the frying pan. But that's kind of what education is. You go in, and you do, you get thrown in a classroom. Here's 30 kids, figure it out," Youngberg said. 

"It's not easy. They'll find that out," said State Senator JJ Dossett. 

Dossett, a Democrat who is running unopposed, was in their shoes about three years ago when he decided to leave Owasso High School after 10 years as a teacher and coach.

"It was really difficult," he said. 

He said adjusting to life in the legislature was challenging but said the job is worthwhile and encourages them to fight for the changes they want to see.

"It's a rough learning curve at first but educators are smart, flexible people," Dossett said. 

The primary election is June 26th.

Here is a link of the candidates who have filed with the state Election Board office in Oklahoma City.