Education Pioneers is excited to launch in Tulsa, Oklahoma this year! Please check back for more information as we begin our work in "Tulsey Town."
Why Tulsa Should Be at the Top of your List
Fellows placed in Tulsa, Oklahoma will join a vibrant city with a school district on the rise. In 2015, Tulsa welcomed leading education reformer Deborah Gist (formerly the Rhode Island education commissioner) as superintendent, resulting in national spotlight and increased high school graduation rates. With an energized reformer at the district’s helm and a new strategic plan, there are limitless opportunities for talent to make an impact on this small district.
Tulsa is a new Education Pioneers partner site. As one of EP’s accelerator cities, Tulsa is a priority site with a high need for talented leaders. It offers unique opportunities for Fellows to be part of the systemic change underway in Tulsa, as well as work with and across multiple organizations to advance educational opportunities for all. Tulsans enjoy a low cost of living, temperate climate, and lively music and arts scene—all with Route 66 in their backyards.
Read Huffington Post’s article: 20 Reasons Tulsa is a Happening City.
About Our Work in Tulsa
Known as T-town and considered the “Oil Capital of the World” for much of the 20th century, Tulsa is located on the Arkansas River at the base of the Ozark Mountains. A city of approximately 962,000 residents (the second largest in the state), many millennials live in the happening downtown or midtown neighborhoods like Cherry Street, Brookside, and the Brady Arts District. Residents take advantage of Tulsa’s nationally-ranked Philbrook Museum of Art, Bob Dylan archive, extensive Native American art and artifacts at the Gilcrease Museum, trendy restaurants, nightlife and walking districts, and its reputation as a dog-friendly city. With so much to do and see, Tulsa still remains one of the most affordable cities in the U.S.
There is exciting momentum happening in Tulsa Public Schools. In 2016, under the guidance of newer Superintendent Gist, TPS launched a 5-year plan for improvement. The plan focuses on aligning the preK-12 instructional program, improving school culture and attendance, attracting and retaining high-quality educators, and fostering innovative classroom, school and district design. Since Gist’s arrival, the Tulsa World reports that TPS has increased its high school graduation rate by 5 percentage points to 72.5 percent and has seen a 26 percent decrease in out-of-school suspensions.
The Tulsa school system, serving approximately 42,000 students in 86 schools, is recognized as a leader in the implementation of technology and early childhood education. TPS has had its struggles, including teacher shortages. However, the district is working overtime to turn those challenges into successes and district improvements are moving the needle on teacher applications.
Education Pioneers is planning to launch in Tulsa in 2018. New fellows will join high-powered EP Alums already working in TPS central office, including Stephen Hoch, Chief Analytics Officer (2012 Fellow); Martin Green, Director of Academic Services and Impact (2014 Fellow); and Quentin Liggins, Director of Talent Initiatives (2016 Fellow).
Tulsa Fellows will have tremendous opportunities to make an impact in a city and school district that is energized and ripe for improvement.