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Who is Deborah Gist?

TPS Superintendent Deborah Gist.png
Posted at 6:27 PM, Aug 22, 2023

TULSA, Okla. — Deborah Gist is a long-time educator with an extensive resume including Commissioner of Education in Rhode Island, she served as a senior policy analyst for the United States Department of Education and was a classroom educator for many years before her role at TPS Superintendent.

She began her education career in college studying at the University of Oklahoma earning a degree in early childhood education.

She holds two master's degrees one in elementary education and curriculum from the University of South Florida and another in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She also got her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Tulsa Superintendent Gist speaks with 2 News amid accreditation threats

    She is a Tulsa native graduating from TPS's Memorial High School. Her love of Tulsa led her back to lead the Tulsa Public Schools team which she has done for the last seven years.
    She has earned the title of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of the World, for her work in Rhode Island. Gist said her most rewarding moment was marching 110 miles to the state capital to advocate for funding increases further benefit students and teachers according to her TPS biography.

    Gist is an involved Tulsan working with the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Commission and sitting on the board of Greenwood Rising. She also holds a seat on the boards of the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice, Junior Achievement of Oklahoma, Tulsa Area United Way, Tulsa Educare, and the Boy Scouts of America Indian Nations Council.
    She is a founder of the Chiefs for Change a organization focused on creating diverse and excellent education for local school districts.

    Gist held the Superintendent seat since July 2015 where she has earned TPS numerous grants and awards. Her decision to part ways with TPS follows the ongoing battle between the district and State Superintendent Ryan Walters amid accreditation issues.
    Walters has been a strong supporter against Gist placing blame on her for TPS's struggles.

    See more of 2 News' coverage on our Tulsa Public Schools Accreditation Fight page.

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