Tulsa Public School Superintendent's First 100 Days On The Job

Wednesday, November 8th 2006, 10:38 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Public Schools new leader hits a milestone. It's Dr. Michael Zolkoski's 100th day in the top job at TPS.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims says the first 100 days on the job and Dr Zolkoski hasn't slowed down, meeting with parents, getting to know teachers, and stopping by every single school in the district. "We're kinda like we got to town, we got our bags unpacked, and now we've got to reorganize for success."

That reorganization is starting at the top, with a push to streamline administration. Dr. Zolkoski also wants to establish smaller families of schools, clustering elementary schools with one or two middle schools, which will then feed into one high school. And teachers at all levels would work as a team to meet students needs as they grow up. "We need to improve our test scores. And improve what we're doing overall. And I think if we get in smaller families we'll be able to accomplish that."

Dr. Zolkoski also cooking up a few new magnet schools, one specializing in culinary arts that could lead graduating seniors into similar programs at Oklahoma State University's Okmulgee or Stillwater campuses. The other would give students a glimpse into the world of broadcasting. They're all big ideas, but some say they're short on details.

"There haven’t been enough details come out of substantive change to really create a lot of reaction." Steve Stockley, with the teacher's union, says teachers are open, but they're eager to see a plan.

Tulsa School board member Gary Percefull says some may be uneasy at the idea of change, but that's why the school board hired Zolkoski. "No one has come to me and said, 'keep things the same!' So that’s what we've asked him to do is come in and figure out the best way for us to change so we can move where we want to be."

Dr. Zolkoski is very focused on one goal, getting Tulsa Public Schools a Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award. He's got a section of the Tulsa Public School website devoted to it, he had a Saturday retreat with the school board about it, and all of these changes are working towards it.