Ballard Retiring As TPS Superintendent, Not As Educator

Monday, June 15th 2015, 11:23 pm
By: News On 6

It's the end of an ear at Tulsa Public Schools as its superintended of seven years retires.

Dr. Keith Ballard might be stepping down as superintendent, but he won't be taking much of a break.

Ballard's last official day on the job isn't until the end of the month, but he's not quite giving up education; starting July 1st he'll make the switch to OU-Tulsa.

6/15/2015 Related Story: Dr. Keith Ballard Transitions From TPS To Faculty At OU-Tulsa

"I have devoted myself, really, to a couple of things - my family and my work," he said.

Ballard's been an educator for a combined 43 years, seven of those as head of Tulsa Public Schools.

During that time, he's seen two historical bonds pass, led the way on successful school programs and received many accolades.

But now, instead of seeing that children and teachers are taken care of, he'll be seeing to adults - teaching administration work skills.

"I'm really not ready to quit work and I do not want to quit work, but there is a huge difference from being superintendent of schools in Tulsa Public and being a university professor. You have so much more control over your schedule and it's just a completely different environment," Ballard explained.

July 1 he'll start work as the Director of the Professional Development and Leadership Academy and professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the OU Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education.

"I am so pleased that I did what I did. I followed my heart and I really had a great career," he said.Ballard said whenever you leave behind something that's been such a huge part of your life it can get emotional.

However, with veteran educator Dr. Deborah Gist taking over, he knows he's leaving his seat to the right person.

"I do believe the district picked the right lady and I do have a strong feeling that Dr. Debra Gist is the right choice," Ballard said.

The incoming superintendent spent the last six years as education commissioner in Rhode Island, but she's no stranger to Tulsa, spending elementary through high school here.

Gist's three-year contract with the district begins July 1.