The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education hired Dr. Sean McDaniel, 55, Tuesday night as their next superintendent with a 5-2 vote. All board members were present except for south-side member Gloria Torres.
And in a news conference just after the OKCPS board vote, he showed a depth of experience in dealing with different personalities in a public institution with a board elected by the public.
McDaniel responded calmly and with an affirmation to a question about Board Member Ruth Veales‘ statement of opposition to his hiring just before the vote.
She was one of the two votes against McDaniel. Board Member Charles Henry was the other.
“Anybody who can’t see that she has the biggest heart for kids in the world is missing something,” said McDaniel.
He went on to say that he thought her comments were fair and that he would need to listen and gain an understanding of what the needs are in the district.
“Her heart for kids just busted through for me,” he said about Veales.
“I have no heartburn at all with what Ms. Veales had to say.”
“Everywhere you turn there is potential,” McDaniel said about what he finds most appealing about the district. “There is great partnership.”
“The thing that came through loudly and clearly as I came through the process is regardless of what the outside says looking into our district and our board, there is no question in my heart and in my mind that every single board member has kids at the center of their decision-making.”
He said that those qualities come our differently sometimes, but, “I am sold 100 percent that this board loves kids. That is very appealing.”
“The right person”
Board Chair Paula Lewis shared the news conference with McDaniel.
Lewis also affirmed Veales as having a big heart for kids as she acknowledged that the “stats” for the part of the district that Veales represents “are not where we want them to have been.”
“There are seven districts in this school system,” said Lewis. “We need a person – and, he is the right person – for all seven districts.”
She said he is “very much the right candidate for this position.”
Mustang to OKCPS
He is currently the Superintendent of Mustang Public Schools where he has served for the last 6 years.
The city is surrounded by Oklahoma City limits on the far southwest corner of the metro.
Beth Harrison with the district said he is expected to sign a consultancy contract with OKCPS as he completes his obligations with Mustang PS.
His superintendent contract with Mustang will end the last day of June and begin with OKCPS July 1.
McDaniel was named the 2018 Oklahoma Superintendent of the Year by CCOSA, or The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration.
He has been in education for 33 years and a superintendent for 17 years.
He started in education as a language arts teacher at Denver’s Highland High School from 1986-1988.
McDaniel is a graduate of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. He went on to earn his master’s degree in educational administration from NSU and his doctorate in educational leadership from Oklahoma State University.
Sean and his wife, Traci, have two children: Erin and Mac. Erin, a computer analyst, resides in Coweta with her 2-year old son, Russell and his new baby sister, Mila. Mac will be a freshman at Tulsa University in the fall. Sean’s wife, Traci, teaches private piano and vocal lessons.