© 2023 Public Radio Tulsa
800 South Tucker Drive
Tulsa, OK 74104
(918) 631-2577

A listener-supported service of The University of Tulsa
classical 88.7 | public radio 89.5
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

TPS school board member meets with constituents for first time since walking out of board meeting

TPS school board member E'Lena Ashley speaks on Jult 25, 2022
Elizabeth Caldwell
TPS school board member E'Lena Ashley speaks on July 25, 2022

A contentious meeting hosted by Tulsa Public Schools board member E’Lena Ashley was held Monday night.

About fifty people gathered in an east Tulsa restaurant outside of Ashley’s district to share their thoughts.

Attendee Stephen Rundell said he was there because he’s a gay man and Ashley has made homophobic remarks. He said the audience was more prepared with questions than Ashley was with answers.

“I think the audience came prepared to have a vigorous conversation with her, and she came prepared to talk about issues that weren’t applicable to her district. That was not encouraging,” said Rundell.

The meeting lasted about two hours and was just one in a series held by Ashley, who said she was not as upset as the crowd.

“There’s a lot of angry people, and there’s a lot of passionate people. I’m just glad I’m not angry. I am so glad these people actually show up to give their opinion,” said Ashley.

This was Ashley’s first event since she walked out of a Tulsa Public Schools board meeting after the board attempted to approve new teacher contracts and other business to start the school year. Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist called it a tragic night for Tulsa.

The board later approved those items at a special meeting.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.