Oklahoma City Schools Find New Leader
Posted On July 31, 2021
Oklahoma City schools have been on a rollercoaster of ups and downs over the past decade. The district was labeled “in need of improvement” under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). That federal mandate led to major reforms that included a district improvement plan, a comprehensive local education plan (CLEP), and numerous initiatives by then-Superintendent Bob Moore. The changes have undergone notable improvements.
Following Moore’s resignation, Acting Superintendent Linda S. Brown and the Oklahoma City Board of Schools instituted four primary tools to help achieve Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as required by NCLB. These tools are: the district restructuring, the Instructional Facilitators Program, the Organizational Health Inventory, and the High Performance Model. The Oklahoma City Schools’ primary concern during the previous academic year was finding someone capable of continuing the upward progress of these initiatives.
That search came to an end in April when Oklahoma City Schools announced the selection of John Q. Porter as the next Superintendent of Schools. Porter is currently the deputy superintendent for the highly rated Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in Rockville, Maryland. Porter is nationally recognized for his work in improving both accountability and academics at MCPS. He has also been successful in integrating technology with student learning. This is one of the reasons Oklahoma City Schools thinks he might be the right man for the job.
Oklahoma City Schools has received praise for its MAPS (Metropolitan Area Public Schools) program for children. MAPS for kids is a “landmark bond initiative” created in 2001 that has earmarked $ 512 million for new or renovated school buildings for all Oklahoma City schools. Other initiative funds include $ 52 million for computer and technology resources for Oklahoma City schools. The plan relies on sales tax increases over the next several years, as well as bond funds to fuel aggressive changes. Board members and administrators of Oklahoma City schools believe that Porter, coming from a district managing an operating budget of $ 1.85 billion with considerable success, will be able to use district funds to institute needed improvements to the AYP.
The nearly year-long search for the new Oklahoma City Superintendent of Schools appears to have board members heaving a sigh of relief. Oklahoma City schools have gone more than 10 months without a permanent leader in the position of superintendent. Oklahoma City School Board President Cliff Hudson said, “While it has taken us some time to find a new leader, I can say it was worth the wait because we have found an exceptional person to lead the District of Oklahoma City Public Schools. “
While policy dictates that this sunny outlook will face challenges during actual interactions over the next school year, the fact that Porter is welcomed by the majority of Oklahoma City school administrators is encouraging. Hudson hinted that the community investment made by MAPS for children was partly responsible for the high quality of applicants who applied for the superintendent position. Porter will officially assume the title of newest superintendent of Oklahoma City Schools on July 1.