Deborah A. Gist is the superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools and a proud graduate of Memorial High School and Nimitz Junior High School. She started her education at both Grimes and Carnegie elementary schools, and being the Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools fulfills a lifelong dream.
During Superintendent Gist’s tenure, the district has seen sustained increases in high school graduation rates, novice teacher retention, employee engagement, and the percentage of students meeting projected reading and math growth. Tulsa Public Schools has expanded its dual language programming, opened the only three public Montessori programs in the state, implemented the Seal of Biliteracy for high school students demonstrating proficiency in at least two languages, launched a unified enrollment system, and successfully passed a five-year $415 million bond that will transform teaching and learning experiences across the city.
The district has also been recognized nationally for its work around social emotional learning, expanded learning, and response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is considered a national leader in developing and implementing culturally relevant and sustaining curricula about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
Superintendent Gist’s proudest moment of her superintendency, however, was in April 2018 when she joined more than 100 educators on a 110 mile march to Oklahoma City to advocate for significant increases in state education funding to provide the resources that Oklahoma teachers and children need and deserve.
Superintendent Gist holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Oklahoma, a master’s degree in elementary education and curriculum from the University of South Florida, a master’s of public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.