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TPS board hits pause on finding permanent superintendent

Dr. Ebony Johnson, center.
Ben Abrams
Dr. Ebony Johnson, center.

The Tulsa Public Schools’ Board of Education couldn't decide on a plan to permanently fill the role of superintendent at a special meeting held Tuesday evening.

Members disagreed over whether to give current Interim Superintendent Dr. Ebony Johnson a contract to make her role permanent or to open the role to more candidates in a nation-wide search.

Dr. Jennettie Marshall expressed her concern that making Johnson the permanent district leader at this time wouldn't be fair to her. TPS is under increased pressure from the state, and is involved in a federal investigation into former employee Devin Fletcher who's accused of embezzling district funds.

"I believe placing Dr. Johnson in that position as the actual superintendent, before everything is clear... we place that in her lap," Marshall said.

Dr. Jerry Griffin said the board should sign Johnson to a permanent role immediately, expressing his thought that the term "interim" carries less authority.

"If you don’t think other school districts are looking at her right now, she could very well be recruited away from us," Griffin said.

Most of Tuesday's meeting was held in two separate executive sessions. Ultimately, the board decided to table the issue, instead adopting a resolution voicing their full support for Dr. Johnson while she remains in her interim role.

Dr. Griffin did not join his colleagues in the private meetings, calling the resolution supporting her "silly and unnecessary," which board president Stacey Woolley refuted.

In an interview with the Tulsa World, Johnson said she would look to compete for the job of permanent superintendent even if other candidates were considered.

Ben Abrams is a news reporter and All Things Considered host for KWGS.
Check out all of Ben's links and contact info here.
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