Former Teachers Campaign for Oklahoma’s Top Education Job

Associated Press - November 8, 2022 10:28 am

State Superintendent Ryan Walters

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two former Oklahoma teachers are vying for the state’s top education job, albeit with very different campaign styles.

Republican Ryan Walters, 37, Gov. Kevin Stitt’s secretary of education, is a conservative firebrand who has mostly targeted what he says are liberal indoctrinators masquerading as teachers and pushed for the banning of certain books from school libraries.

“The radical left has decided that our schools need to be places of indoctrination,” he said during a recent debate.

Walters also has embraced Stitt’s education-voucher proposal that would allow public money to be spent on tuition at private schools, including religious schools.

His Democratic opponent is Jena Nelson, 44, a former state teacher of the year who took a leave of absence from her English teacher job with Oklahoma City Public Schools to run for state superintendent of public instruction.

Nelson has focused much of her campaign on addressing the increasing number of teachers taking better paying jobs in other states or leaving the profession altogether.

Oklahoma state Superintendent Democratic candidate Jena Nelson speaks during a town hall at the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)

“We need a state superintendent who believes in our public schools, elevates our teachers, not threatens to defund schools or threatens teachers,” Nelson said.

Both are vying to replace two-term State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who switched parties from Republican to Democrat to run for governor against Stitt.

Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at:


Latest Stories

Pawhuska Police Department Working With OSBI and OBN Testing Suckers and Rock Candy: Release Statement

Pawhuska, Okla.-The Pawhuska Police Department is working with OSBI and OBN to conduct more extensive testing...

Board of Equalization Certifies Revenue

The state Board of Equalization met last week certifying revenue the Legislature will have to appropriate...

Pioneer Tech Announces February Students of the Month

Pioneer Tech proudly announces Ethan Vap and Joey Ryan as the February Students of the Month....