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Taylor Starts New Job

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Kathy Taylor

Tulsa, OK – Oklahoma City -- Gov. Brad Henry's Chief of Education Strategy and Innovation, Kathy Taylor, wants to hear from education stakeholders across the state next week as part of an effort to strengthen Oklahoma's bid for federal "Race to the Top" education grants.

In six regional meetings throughout the state, Taylor will solicit ideas for education reform to be included in Oklahoma's "Race to the Top" proposal. Administered by the U.S. Department of Education, "Race to the Top" is a grant competition among U.S. states designed to encourage innovation and reform that will spur gains in student achievement.

Taylor said she hopes the public meetings will be attended by school administrators, school board members, business and community leaders, teachers, parents and students.

"It is important that we get ideas from a broad cross-section of everyone who is on the front lines of education in Oklahoma," said Taylor, who recently left her post as mayor of Tulsa after choosing not to seek reelection.

" Race to the Top' is a unique opportunity to help launch Oklahoma schools to a higher level of excellence. That is why we need valuable input from all Oklahomans with an interest in improving our system of education."

The state's application must be submitted by Jan. 19, 2010.

Gov. Henry, who appointed Taylor last fall to serve as his top education advisor, said the "Race to the Top" initiative has the potential to be a significant boost to Oklahoma schools.

"Given today's economic climate, clearly no state can afford to ease up in competitions aimed at strengthening education," Gov. Henry said.

"I am pleased that Kathy Taylor is charging full-speed ahead in our efforts to win federal funds that, in turn, can have a tremendous impact on student achievement."

Each state must focus its grant proposal on four areas:

- College/work-ready standards and high-quality, valid and reliable assessments
- Pre-kindergarten to higher education data systems
- Grant teachers and leaders
- Intensive support and intervention for the lowest-performing schools

Discussion meetings will be held in six regions of Oklahoma from Monday, Dec. 14, to Wednesday, Dec. 16.

The schedule for meetings is as follows:

Monday, Dec. 14

9 a.m. Woodward High School Auditorium
1 p.m. Southwest Technology Center, Altus

Tuesday, Dec. 15

9 a.m. Ardmore Convention Center
1 p.m. McAlester High School Auditorium
5:30 p.m. Fulton Technology and Learning Academy, Tulsa

Wednesday, Dec. 16

1 p.m. Oklahoma City Schools Administration Bldg. Auditorium