TPS Superintendent Begins First Day On Job

Wednesday, July 1st 2015, 1:54 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa Public School's new superintendent is officially on the job and spent Wednesday morning touring several of the district's schools. Dr. Deborah Gist saod she toured the schools to get a feel for the district on her first day.  

The schools on the list include those that are session this summer. As a graduate of Memorial High School, she's no stranger to the district.

At each school, she spent time visiting with teachers, support staff and students in the classroom. At Rogers High School, Dr. Gist spent about 30 minutes with new teachers from Teach for America.

She's been working part time for the district for more than a month, and now she's taking charge.

"I can't believe my good fortune," she said. "I'm just really thrilled to be home."

Gist has already made the rounds of TPS supporters, the business and philanthropic communities, and she spoke on Tuesday before the Chamber of Commerce.

While she's now superintendent, she continues to describe herself as primarily a teacher in the role of superintendent to support what she says is beginning to happen in TPS.

"And we're just really poised, and ready to lift that up and take Tulsa Public Schools to the next level," Gist said.

Gist says an early objective is to help the district work on reading and several new initiatives will start this school year, but she's not ready to announce them yet.

"And there's a lot of work occurring around literacy and we've seen some promising gains already because of that hard work," Gist said. "And while we're focusing on literacy, we want to make sure we're not forgetting math, and generally speaking, we want the students to have an overall, well rounded quality education."

After the school year starts, Gist also is planning town hall meetings at each high school to meet parents, and she's reaching out on social media and encouraging parents and students to reach her there directly.