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It’s April and that means hiring season for public school administrators including Dr. Sean McDaniel, superintendent for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

After spending two years on the job, Monday night’s vote of the OKCPS Board of Education went 7-1 for McDaniel’s contract to extend to the end of June 2023 in one-year increments.

Regular administrator contracts run from July 1 to June 30 which is the fiscal year for public schools.

McDaniel was hired away from the superintendency of Mustang Public Schools during the hiring season in 2018 soon after the statewide Teacher Walkout. He officially took the reins of the district July 1, 2018.

From June, 2018: Q & A with Sean McDaniel, new supt, Okla City Public Schools

“As the largest district in the state, OKCPS always expects to have a full plate, but we are perhaps more grateful than ever to have a seasoned, caring and innovative superintendent at the helm,” said Board Chair Paula Lewis in a written statement after the meeting.

“I hope tonight’s vote to extend his contract only reinforces the high level of confidence that our Board of Education has in Dr. McDaniel.”

The lone vote against McDaniel was from board member Charles Henry, a persistent critic of the superintendent.

Two years ago, Henry and long-term board member Ruth Veales had voted against hiring McDaniel for the first time. But, Monday night Veales voted to keep McDaniel in the post seemingly without reservation.

Going long

Since OKCPS had gone through a string of short superintendencies of less than two years and too many that were one year or less, some were wagering that McDaniel could not make it through two years.

But, he did in a district that is not only the biggest in the state but also has the largest concentration of children growing up in urban poverty which creates daunting levels of challenges for all district teachers and leaders.

Now, after Monday night’s vote he is working toward five years ending June 30, 2023. And, if he makes it, he will be only the third superintendent to make it for five years or longer since 1985.

A list on the OKCPS website starting with 1985 shows that there were only two superintendents who lasted five or more years up to the present: Karl Springer who was in the post for five years ending in 2013 and Arthur Steller who held the position 6 1/2 years ending in 1992.

Intensive search

The vote in 2018 ended an intensive search by the board that included many hours of clarification and study before interviews even began.

There were several selling points for McDaniel when members were considering who to hire.

He had 17 years experience as a school superintendent with 33 years overall in education.

McDaniel was familiar with the OKCPS and Oklahoma City situation having served as superintendent in the metro at Mustang Public Schools.

And he had a history of collaborative, non-combative leadership board members found appealing.


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