Superintendent-Elect Hofmeister Announces Bi-Partisan Transition Team
TULSA, OK (November 6, 2014) — Joy Hofmeister announced today that she has appointed a team of Oklahomans to advise her as she transitions into the state superintendent’s office.
“I am very honored that such a quality group of people would be willing to volunteer their time to help me as I transition to my new role as Superintendent of Public Instruction,” said Hofmeister.
“These individuals each have some area of expertise that will greatly benefit me as I prepare to lead our state Department of Education. Whether it comes from a lifetime spent in public education, or a career as a business owner, or twenty years of experience as a past Superintendent of Public Instruction—the perspective of these team members will be invaluable to me over the next few months.”
In addition, Hofmeister said she has spoken with Superintendent Barresi, who offered to assist in making the transition as smooth as possible.
“I greatly appreciate Superintendent Barresi’s gracious offer, and I certainly intend to work with her and her staff to ensure the smoothest possible transition.”
The members of the transition team, along with a brief bio, are:
Dr. Phyllis Hudecki. A native of Morris, Oklahoma, Dr. Hudecki has more than 30 years of experience in many facets of education. She currently directs the work of OBEC, a large business-led coalition established in 2000, and served as Secretary of Education to Governor Mary Fallin from 2011-2013. Hudecki received her doctorate of education and baccalaureate in education from Oklahoma State University, an educational specialist degree in education administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a master’s degree in education from the University of Connecticut.
Dr. Keith Ballard. As the superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, Dr. Ballard oversees the largest school district in Oklahoma with 88 campuses, 41,000 students, 7,000 employees and a $500 million budget. Dr. Ballard began his career in education as a teacher in Coweta, Oklahoma in 1972. Since then, he has served as an assistant high school principal, an assistant superintendent, an adjunct professor at Oral Roberts University, and he was the executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association for eight years.
Sandy Garrett. Sandy Garrett spent 15 years as a classroom teacher before joining the state Department of Education, where she served as the Gifted and Talented Programs coordinator, and then became the executive director of Education Programs. In 1988, she was named Secretary of Education by Governor Henry Bellmon. She was elected to her first term as Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1990, serving five full terms before her retirement in 2010. Superintendent Garrett was inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame in March 2001, into the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame in August 2000, and is a member of the Northeastern State University Alumni Association Hall of Fame.
Peter Markes. A graduate of Oklahoma City University, Peter Markes is currently in his twelfth year as director of orchestras at Edmond North High School. In 2007, he was selected as the Cheyenne Middle School Teacher of the Year, and was also a finalist for district Teacher of the Year. In the same year, he was awarded a Governor’s Commendation from Governor Brad Henry. In 2009, he was selected by School Band and Orchestra Magazine as one of the nation’s “50 Directors Who Make a Difference.” Mr. Markes was recently selected as the 2014 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.
General (Ret.) Leo J. (Lee) Baxter. General Baxter is a native Minnesotan who departed active military service in 1999 as an Army Major General after 31 years. An adopted Oklahoman, he has subsequently served as Vice President of Cameron University, as a market President for BancFirst, one of Oklahoma’s largest banking institutions, as Vice President of Communication Technologies, Inc. in Chantilly, Virginia, and as President and Chief Operating Officer for JB Management, Inc., a Service Disabled Veteran Owned defense business in Alexandria, Virginia. He now devotes his energy to civic and community matters, and to Signal Mountain Associates, Inc., which he founded in 1999. General Baxter currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) and as a member of the state Board of Education.
Dr. Kent Shellenberger. During his nearly 40 years in Oklahoma education, Dr. Kent Shellenberger has been a teacher, a coach and a principal. He has served as superintendent of Bethany Public Schools since 1997, and an adjunct professor at Southern Nazarene University since 1990. This summer, he was honored for his service as an inductee to the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame. Currently a governor’s appointee to the Commission for Educational Quality and Accountability and the Special Education Task Force, Dr. Shellenberger is also the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators’ state representative to its national leadership conventions. In addition, he authors a quarterly column for Better Schools, a publication of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration.
Chuck Mills. The president of Mills Machine Company for the past 35 years, Chuck Mills grew the family business based in Shawnee into a multi-million dollar concern. He is a former Mayor of Shawnee, and he is a board member of the Governor's Council for Workforce and Economic Development. He currently serves as the chairman of the State Chamber of Commerce, where he is deeply committed to creating an environment for business to thrive in the State of Oklahoma in order to provide wealth creation and a better quality of life for all citizens.
Jerry Needham. Mr. Needham started his education career in 1978, serving as a classroom teacher at Eufaula and Checotah Public Schools through 1984. He has been employed for the past 31 years at Oktaha Public Schools, serving one year as high school principal and 30 years as superintendent. Mr. Needham is currently president-elect for the Cooperative Council of Oklahoma School Administrators (CCOSA). He has spent 23 years on the Board of Directors and as president of the Oklahoma Schools Advisory Council (OSAC), and 20 years on the Board of Directors and as president of the Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools (OROS). He has been selected four times as the district administrator of the year by the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators (OASA) and twice as the Oklahoma Schools Advisory Council ( OSAC) Administrator of the year.
Carolyn McLarty. Currently serving her second four-year term as national committeewoman representing Oklahoma to the Republican National Committee (RNC), McLarty has been a recent, but strong voice in education. She is responsible for writing the resolution opposing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for the RNC and played a pivotal role in repealing Common Core in Oklahoma. McLarty also served as a member and as president of the Board of Directors for OETA for seven years, from 1997-2004. McLarty and her husband, Tom, reside in Mutual, Oklahoma, and she owned her own veterinary practice in Woodward before retiring in 2007.
Bob Ross. Robert J. Ross (who goes by Bob) is president, CEO, and member of the Board of Directors of the Inasmuch Foundation and of the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. These two Oklahoma City-based institutions are two of the state's largest private foundations, both founded by Edith Kinney Gaylord in 1982. Ross also serves on the Board of Directors for Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, Oklahoma Health Center Foundation, St. Anthony Hospital Foundation, and Sunbeam Family Services. Ross was an associate at the Oklahoma City law firm McAfee & Taft prior to joining the foundations in 2003.
Cecilia Robinson. Cecilia J. Robinson is currently the superintendent of Millwood Public Schools in Oklahoma City, Ok. She is entering her second year in this role and has begun the hard work to launch a renaissance at the struggling school district. Throughout her career she has served as a teacher, assistant elementary principal, middle school principal in Connecticut and associate superintendent of school leadership in Kansas City. In 2006, Ms. Robinson was recognized by the US Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon Principal in Connecticut. After returning to Oklahoma, she served as the senior director for Early Learning at Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAP).