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Stitt reshapes Oklahoma state boards for education, veterans affairs as he starts second term

Oklahoma's State Board of Education during a 2021 meeting.

Gov. Kevin Stitt is reshaping two state boards he’s occasionally been at odds with.

The State Board of Education and Veterans Commission will have a new look when they meet next as he removed and replaced four members on each board.

The moves come as new state superintendent Ryan Walters gets ready to shape a new era at the State Department of Education and Stitt looks to remake a Veterans Commission whose Executive Director Joel Kintsel challenged him in the GOP primary last year.

The education board will look like this:

  • In Congressional District 1 Donald Burdick, an entrepreneur and CEO of Olifant Energy II replaces Carlisha Williams Bradley. Bradley had often sided with former state superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who left the Republican Party to challenge Stitt last year.
  • In District 2, Sarah Lepak, who was appointed in 2022 will remain in her position.
  • In District 3, Marla Hill will take over for Trent Smith, who now lives in District 5 because of redistricting. Hill is a homeschool teacher.
  • In District 4, Kendra Wesson will take over for Brian Bobeck. Wesson challenged Democrat Jacob Rosecrants last year.
  • In District 5, Smith replaces Jennifer Monies.
  • The at-large member will be Suzanne Reynolds of Tulsa, who criticized Tulsa Public Schools at a state board meeting where the district’s accreditation was downgraded because of an allegation of a violation of House Bill 1775. She replaces Estela Hernandez.

The board’s agenda will now be set by Walters, who has vowed to purge the State Department of Education of “liberal indoctrination.”

The Governor has also removed four people from the Veterans Commission. Those changes include:

  • Brett Martin will replace Jerry Ball on the Veterans Commission. Martin is an active member of the Department of Oklahoma American Legion and served in the Navy. 
  • Ted Perry will replace Jerletta Pandos. Perry is with Disabled Veterans and is a combat veteran whose service includes two combat tours in Iraq, where he received a Purple Heart. 
  • Daniel Orr will replace Gary Miles. Orr is with Veterans of Foreign Wars and is a combat veteran who served in the U.S.  Marine Corps. 
  • Bill Kokendofer with Paralyzed Veterans of America has been relieved from the Veterans Commission. No announcement of his replacement has been made.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

Robby Korth grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree.
Kateleigh Mills joined KOSU in March 2018, following her undergraduate degree completion from the University of Central Oklahoma in December 2017.
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