Tulsa Education: February 2007 Archives

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PR consultant Gary Percefull won re-election to the Tulsa School Board, defeating retired teacher Brenda Barre by a vote of 449 to 412.

It's a very difficult thing to beat an incumbent school board member, and Barre is to be congratulated for coming so close. It means that she and her campaign team (led by Christie Breedlove) were able to raise awareness that a change is needed. Still, it's heartbreaking to come so close -- less than two votes per precinct. You can think of a hundred things that you didn't do, thinking they wouldn't make much of a difference in the outcome; all of those things together might have made all the difference.

Turnout was abysmal, as usual -- less than 5%, I would guess. It's hard to get the media excited about the school board election because only a small portion of the district votes each year. Any given year isn't likely to produce much change -- at most two of Tulsa's seven board members would turn over.

If our Republican legislators really want to increase voter involvement in the public schools and improve the schools' responsiveness to their taxpayers and parents, they should change the school board election laws, so that every seat is up for election every two years statewide.

Barre for board

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This week's Urban Tulsa Weekly column is about the race for a seat on the Tulsa school board. Incumbent Gary Percefull, a PR consultant, is being challenged by Brenda Barre, a retired teacher with nearly 30 years of service at Tulsa's Booker T. Washington High School. The election is next Tuesday, and every voter in Tulsa school board district 1 should make plans to turnout and vote for Brenda Barre.

Blogger Jeff Shaw adds his own testimonial as a comment on the column:

Ms. Barre would make an excellent school board member. I'm confessing, she was my homeroom teacher at BTW, so I am a bit biased. She was a tough as nails educator with a soft heart for what's best for the kids. Since she taught at BTW, she knows all about excellence, which is what TPS needs; not a pack of legal eagles.

(By the way, Jeff's got a lot of new and interesting items on his blog, including an update on the proposed "East End" development. Be sure to click that link. And here's his blog entry endorsing Barre.)

Also in this week's edition, a cover story about Clifton Taulbert, author of Once upon a Time When We Were Colored, The Last Train North, and Eight Habits of the Heart. He'll be speaking on those eight habits this coming Tuesday at Holy Family Cathedral School, 8th and Boulder downtown.

There's some in depth local news coverage as well: A story on the management mess at Gilcrease Museum, interim City Attorney Deirdre Dexter (also cleaning up a mess in that office), and Senator Jim Inhofe and his stance on global warming.

Interesting point from the story about Dexter:

While Dexter was asked to serve as the interim city attorney for up to six months, she's currently in the middle of a process that city officials hope will make the legal department more effective for the people they represent. The first step in the search process for a new city attorney is to have all city department chiefs and city councilmen participate in a client survey.

"We want to know how they think the city attorney's office is doing, what can be done better and their ideas to fix problems," Dexter said. "We also want to be sure that our clients, who are the council and any city department, understand their relationship with the city attorney's office."

Some of the surveys, which were due back in Dexter's office last Friday, have shown a disconnect between the legal department and other city offices, she said.

"We've received good information that confirms some areas where we can better serve our clients," she said. "This survey information will also be helpful for whoever is hired to fill this position and it allows me to take some steps that would make their transition even easier."

It's seemed to me that the City Attorney's office long ago forgot who its client was, so I'm encouraged that this process is underway. (There are some very good individual attorneys in that office, I hasten to add, but I don't want to shorten their careers by praising them.) I was surprised when Mayor Taylor named Deirdre Dexter to this position, but she's an excellent choice.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa Education category from February 2007.

Tulsa Education: January 2007 is the previous archive.

Tulsa Education: December 2007 is the next archive.

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