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The Morning Bell: Superintendent election a repeat of 2014?

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Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister delivers remarks to educators during the Superintendents' Advisory Council, hosted by the Oklahoma Public Schools Resources Center. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister delivers remarks to educators during the Superintendents' Advisory Council, hosted by the Oklahoma Public Schools Resources Center. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Good Wednesday morning!

Incumbent state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and Peggs Public Schools Superintendent John Cox are the only two who have confirmed their candidacy to The Oklahoman for state superintendent of public instruction. 

Hofmeister, who is a Republican, beat Cox, a Democrat, by 11 percentage points in the 2014 general election.

In an article I wrote this week, I was unable to confirm any other candidates with just several months to go before the primary (the general election is in November). That could be considered surprising given the amount of attention public education has received in recent years in Oklahoma. 

"It's hard to satisfy everybody on education issues, so it is a surprise that you don't see more people talking about running," said Jason Nelson, a former state representative who was a key player on education issues during his time in the Legislature. "But it's a secondary race, which means it's the type of race people could get into late if they are the right kind of person, if they have any type of network or funding. But if you are running for governor it is a different story."

School nurses on the decline

In Oklahoma, school nurses are limited and on the decline.

School nurses and agency employees told The Frontier while the number of nurses is shrinking, the amount of students who have acute and chronic health needs continues to grow.

According to the Frontier's Kassie McClung, school nurses are registered nurses or nurse practitioners who are certified the same as a teacher by the State Board of Education. In Oklahoma, the equivalent of about 272 full-time school nurses provide health care and education to hundreds of schools.

With 1,795 schools in the state, there’s about one full-time school nurse for every six institutions, according to a Frontier analysis of State Board of Education and Oklahoma State Department of Health data, McClung reports. 

OKCPS continues to consider consultant

Oklahoma City Public Schools continues to explore the possibility of hiring a high-priced consultant to help transform the district's "dysfunctional" culture, The Oklahoman has learned.

Superintendent Aurora Lora and Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers President Ed Allen, in a joint statement emailed to about 5,000 employees Tuesday night, said the district and its partners "continue discussions with Kotter International."

Teacher certification support

Through an Oklahoma Teacher Shortage Grant from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Cameron University is offering a free workshop for those interested in a career as a teacher that covers the multiple ways Oklahoma offers to gain teaching certification, the Altus Times reports

The CU (Cameron University) Become a Teacher workshop is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 25, at the Altus High School Cafeteria at 400 Park Ave. from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Virtual charter offering six-figure salary

The state’s largest virtual charter school is now using the draw of pay ranging from $64,000 on average up to more than $106,000 for its highest earners to lure applicants to keep pace with its staggering student enrollment growth, reports the Tulsa World

EPIC is currently recruiting applicants online with a chart titled “Respect and Compensation Matter,” showing the dramatic $18,000 gap between its average earning full-time teacher and the state’s average, and the $30,000 gap between its highest paid first-year teacher and what the state minimum pay is for a first-year special education teacher.

The chart also features figures for its highest earners: $106,324 for a special education teacher and $95,440 for a regular education teacher.

All Star board announced

The Oklahoma State School Boards Association recently named five board members to the 2018 All-State School Board: Les Pettitt, a member of the Bethany Public Schools board since 2002; Debbie Biehler, a member of the Chisholm Trail Technology Center board since 1987; Cindy Nashert, a member of the Norman Public Schools board since 2013; Jimmie Jarrell, a member of the Stratford Public Schools board since 2005; and Gary Percefull, a member of the Tulsa Public Schools board since 2003.

That's it for today's Morning Bell. Got questions, comment or story ideas? Hit me up at bfelder@oklahoman.com or 405-414-0013. 

Related Photos
Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman archives

Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman archives

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-87611960a0286cc3dab6e934a9969ed5.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman archives" title="Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman archives"><figcaption>Oklahoma State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman archives</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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