Next TPS Superintendent To Visit Schools This Week

Tuesday, February 3rd 2015, 7:25 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The next Tulsa Public Schools superintendent makes her first public appearance in Tulsa in the day ahead.

She won't start immediately, but she'll start before the current superintendent, Dr. Keith Ballard, retires.

The timeline for the transition is still uncertain, but she's going to be visiting schools Wednesday, including Burroughs Elementary in north Tulsa.

The final vote on the final candidate was unanimous, but didn't have the support of everyone in the room.

2/2/2015 Related Story: Tulsa School Board Hires Gist As Superintendent

A group of teachers, including Patti Ferguson-Palmer, got up and walked out, to complain the board made the wrong decision.

"Prove us wrong, if we're wrong, that would be wonderful, but prove us wrong," she said.

The school board members, like Shawna Keller, spoke favorably of Dr. Deborah Gist and urged everyone to wait and see.

"And I can't wait for her to get to town and see all the things in her that we as a board did," Keller said.

Leigh Goodson with the Tulsa School Board said, “I found Dr. Gist and what we discovered about her to be an inspirational person of great integrity.”

Gist won't arrive in Tulsa until late Tuesday, but from Rhode Island, said:

"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; where I attended public school throughout my childhood."

2/3/2015 Related Story: Dr. Deborah Gist Excited About Tulsa Schools Superintendent Job

When Gist arrives, the district is planning a whirlwind tour of schools and meet-and-greets with local officials.

“The main thing is just get in, visit some schools, get acclimated, get acquainted,” said TPS Spokesperson, Chris Payne.

Wednesday, Gist plans to visit Disney Elementary in the morning and Burroughs Elementary in the afternoon.

Thursday and Friday she's planning more school visits and scheduling meetings with local and state officials.

Payne said, "This visit will be very heavy with school visits, I think she's going to be doing that the rest of the week and there will be other meetings scattered throughout, but it's probably going to be about three quarters school visits."

Gist will go back to Rhode Island next week, but officials here are working on a contract that includes terms for the transition, the timeline and the salary.