TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma State Sec. of Education Ryan Walters and Shawnee Superintendent April Grace will head for a runoff in August for the Republican bid for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The runoff is scheduled for Aug. 23.
A contested race for Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction will be on the ballot on June 28.
Sitting state superintendent and Republican-turned-Democrat Joy Hofmeister is at the end of her term and making a run at Gov. Kevin Stitt as he seeks reelection.
Four Republicans are battling for the right to take on Democrat Jena Nelson in the general election coming up in November:
Peggs Superintendent John Cox is making another run at the state superintendent seat after falling short in 2014 and 2018 when he ran as a Democrat, losing to then-Republican Joy Hofmeister both times.
Cox, 58, has more than 30 years of experience in Oklahoma's public schools.
William Crozier, 75, is another candidate trying to overcome past political losses. Crozier ran for state superintendent in 2006 and lieutenant governor in 2011, losing both times.
Crozier in 2006 garnered criticism after suggesting students use textbooks as shields in active shooter situations. He pleaded guilty to embezzlement in Grady County in 2011 but received a deferred sentence.
Shawnee Public Schools Superintendent April Grace, 56, has served as an educator in Oklahoma for more than 30 years.
Grace was named 2021 state superintendent of the year by the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators.
State Sec. of Public Education Ryan Walters is the youngest of the primary candidates at 36 years old. Walters is serving in Gov. Kevin Stitt's administration, supporting Stitt's agenda in education during and after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic that often went against the wishes of Hofmeister and Democratic lawmakers.
Walters is a McAlester native who started his career in education teaching at McAlester High School before entering the political sphere.
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