Incoming TPS Superintendent Holds First Board Meeting

Monday, June 22nd 2015, 11:58 pm
By: News On 6

Newly elected Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist spent hours Monday afternoon with School Board Members, new and old.

They held a special meeting at Tulsa Community College to have a little more space because Monday afternoon had a very different feel than any normal board meeting.

It was the first meeting of the minds, in an official capacity, for Gist and the group.

"This is a truly dedicated group of elected officials who are leading this school district," Gist said.

During the meeting, she asked each member to speak personally about why they've taken on the duties.

"I know from research that education really has the biggest payoff of any other program to help people, so this is where I'm putting my efforts," board member Cindy Decker said.

Decker was just appointed last month while Ruth Ann Fate has been on the board since 1999.

Once everyone had said their piece, then, as the agenda read, it was time for the team activity and out came the sticky notes.

Gist asked each member to jot down some of the "wins" for the district, from small to large, and soon the table was full, and personalities came out.

"This is another one that I would actually think, an iPad would be, like over here. It's not such a low-level with technology anymore. Y'all feel free to disagree with me," Dr. Lana Turner-Addison said to the room.

It was an eclectic group, but one that knows it has a mission it won't deter from.

"You see us laughing, we are engaging, but what else are we doing? We're working. We're serious about what we do and working with our incoming superintendent, I think we just established already - this is only day one - the groundwork for an awesome year in strategic planning," Turner-Addison said.

It's a plan that Gist, as a product of Tulsa Public Schools, can't wait to begin.

"I am grateful to be home and to do work, right now, that I truly feel like I've spent my entire life preparing for, to come home and do this job," she said.

The group also went over the findings of a recent survey sent out to 3,000 Tulsans about public education in the district.

On Wednesday night, another meeting is scheduled as a follow-up.