Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction
|Formed||November 17, 1907|
|Headquarters||2500 N. Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
|Agency executive||Janet Barresi, State Superintendent|
|Parent agency||Oklahoma State Department of Education|
|Website||State Department of Education|
The Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction, sometimes called the Oklahoma State School Superintendent, is the chief executive officer for the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the President of the Oklahoma State Board of Education. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction is responsible for overseeing, implementing and reviewing the policies of the Oklahoma’s public school system.
The current State Superintendent of Public Instruction is Janet Barresi. Barresi is currently serving her first term in office, first elected in 2010.
The Office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction has requirements which set it apart from all other state offices. As with all executive branch officials, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction must be at least 31 years old and have been a register elector within Oklahoma for 10 years prior to election.
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction is elected directly by the people of Oklahoma.
Elections for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction are held on a four year concurrent basis with the election of the Governor. After all votes are collected, the Legislature of Oklahoma shall convene in the hall of the House of Representatives and the Speaker of the House of Representatives announce the results of the elections in the presence of a majority of each branch of the Legislature. The persons having the highest number of votes for the office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall be declared duly elected. However, in case two or more shall have an equal and the highest number of votes for the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Legislature shall, by joint ballot, choose one of the said persons having an equal and the highest number of votes for the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
November 2010 election
For the November 2010 general election, Sandy Garrett (the five-time and incumbent Democratic officeholder) chose not to seek re-election for a sixth term. Susan Paddack, a former secondary school science teacher and member of the Oklahoma Senate, was nominated by the Democratic Party as her potential successor.
The Republican candidate was Janet Barresi, a dentist, school speech pathologist, and founder of two charter schools in Oklahoma (Independence Charter Middle School, the first charter school in the state of Oklahoma, and Harding High School.
In addition, Richard E. Cooper ran as an Independent candidate.
Barresi won the general election.
Term(s) of office
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s four year term begins on the first Monday in January following the general election, and runs concurrently with that of the Governor of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Constitution places no limit to the number of terms a candidate may serve in succession or in total.
Powers and responsibilities
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Constitutionally, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction has no duties. The office’s powers and responsibilities come from Oklahoma School Code and the powers granted to the office by the Oklahoma State Board of Education. The primary function of the State Superintendent is giving advice and making recommendations to the State Board of Education on matters pertaining to the policies and administration of the State Department of Education and the public school system. The State Superintendent’s powers over the Department of Education come from its ex officio positions as President of the Oklahoma State Board of Education and Oklahoma State Board of Career and Technology Education. As the president of these Boards, the State Superintendent presides at meetings and has the full right of discussion and voting on measures.
As the Chief Executive Officer of the State Department of Education, State Superintendent coordinates the divisions of the state education department and supervises agency employees. As Oklahoma's state education agency, the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction is responsible for the general administration, coordination, supervision, promotion, evaluation, and improvement of educational programs, the state superintendent interprets and implements the policies of the State Board of Education. Also, upon request, the State Superintendent must advise district superintendents of schools on questions as to the powers, duties, and functions of school district officials.
Every two years, the State Superintendent must compile, publish, and distribute a book of laws and Attorney General’s opinions on schools, and issue annually a statistical report for the Governor and legislators on the Education Department. Depending on the relationship between the two, the State Superintendent can serve as the chief education advisor to the Governor of Oklahoma, as demonstrated by the relationship between Governor Brad Henry and Superintendent Sandy Garrett.
The State Superintendent serves as the official representatives from Oklahoma to the United States Department of Education.
Oath of office
"I, ........., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma, and that I will not, knowingly, receive, directly or indirectly, any money or other valuable thing, for the performance or nonperformance of any act or duty pertaining to my office, other than the compensation allowed by law; I further swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully discharge my duties as State Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Oklahoma to the best of my ability."
- http://www.ok.gov/elections/documents/listbk10_general.pdf Official List of 2010 General Election Candidates, see page 5 for State Superintendent candidates.
- Oklahoma School Code, Section 37.1 Powers of State Superintendent. (accessed August 22, 2013)
- State Department of Education website