Tulsa Public School Board, Teachers Give Wish List For New Superintendent

Tuesday, November 18th 2014, 1:54 pm

Tulsa Public Schools has had more than two dozen applicants for the district's superintendent job. 

The deadline to apply is over and the school board has begun the process of reviewing the resumes.  Current TPS superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard is retiring in June 2015, but the school board hopes to name his replacement by mid-January. 

The school board has had candidates from 20 states apply, including Oklahoma, but board president Gary Percefull would not say if any candidates are from within the school district.

"Last night, the board had an opportunity for the first time to meet together to actually consider some of the applicants and talking about the folks that are expressing an interest in it. So, I think we were very pleased with the response that we've had," said Gary Percefull, Tulsa School Board. 

Percefull said the board would get some training over the next few weeks on how to define their wish list for the next candidate, before starting interviews in December.

11/17/2014 Related Story: New Tulsa Teachers' Contract Offers Slight Raise For Experience

Tulsa's classroom teachers have made a wish list of what they want in a new superintendent, and the first requirement is that their new boss be a former teacher.

Beyond that - they're hoping it's someone familiar with Tulsa - and TPS.

"They particularly want someone who knows TPS, not someone who spends a year getting to know Tulsa and the district - they want to hit the ground running," said Patti Ferguson-Palmer, Tulsa Classroom Teachers.

The teachers union surveyed their members to determine they want someone who came up through the ranks, with experience in a big city school - with the ability to communicate well - especially with the employees.

"They want someone who will listen to them, not just say the right things, but listen and act accordingly," she said. 

The school board is going over the resumes of the applicants. They won't reveal names or locations of the applications but say about 25 people applied including some current and former superintendents, an education policy expert and a charter school administrator.

Even though a wide range of applicants applied - the board too wants someone familiar with the situation.

"The board pretty clearly said we'd prefer to have someone with familiarity with the local landscape," School Board member Gary Percefull said. "Right now our timeline is that we'd like to have a decision made sometime in January."

The board plans to do interviews in late December, and bring in the top candidates for public meetings before they make a decision.