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William Stubbs has a sophisticated title in Oklahoma City Public Schools. It’s Instructional Leadership Director for Charter and Enterprise Schools.

But what he does is even more complex than the title itself.

Stubbs is responsible for being the most direct contact between the district’s nine authorized charter schools, and the administration.

It is a unique combination of inspector, collaborator, facilitator and diplomat.

“There’s a duality to my role, because I have one foot in the district and one foot in charters,” Stubbs said.

Authority flow

With charter schools, the natural flow of activity and authority is constantly flowing away from the district administration.

For example, some of the charter schools call their top administrator the superintendent.

Charters have their own boards that have direct responsibility for each school.

Joe Pierce, Supt John Rex Charter
Joe Pierce (L), Supt John Rex Charter elementary visits with William Stubbs on their first day of school

And so, there is a great deal of independence in doing what their leadership and board sees fit for the education of their students.

Yet, each year, OKCPS evaluates the performance of the school not only in academics, but governance and especially in how well it handled its finances.

Since charters are given taxpayer money to deliver service, OKCPS as authorizer is responsible for a certain degree of oversight.

And Stubbs is the primary district administrator in charge of carrying out that oversight.

From that evaluation, the OKCPS Board decides whether to authorize the charter for another year.

Difficulties

When a charter doesn’t do what it set out to do, in the most extreme cases OKCPS will pull its authorization as it did at the end of this last year with one chronically ailing charter.

In that case, the school’s administrators had given up to such a degree that they didn’t even show up at the meeting where the faculty was to be told the school was closing. Stubbs had to be the one to tell teachers the bad news.

Enterprise schools

The three enterprise schools – John Marshall Mid-High, Belle Isle Middle School and Jackson Elementary School – all have stronger and more direct connections with the district.

Unlike charters, the enterprise schools have their teachers on the negotiated contract for the district.

Principals attend principal meetings and have the same reporting responsibilities as the traditional school administrators.

Like the charters, enterprise schools have boards, but more for support and advisement rather than governance.

In that arrangement, Stubbs is the supervisor for enterprise schools’ principals.

Diversity

He seems to thrive on the broad diversity of the charters and enterprise schools under his care.

William Stubbs and Joe Pierce confer
William Stubbs (L) and Dr. Joe Pierce, Supt of John Rex Charter Elem confer

It would be harder if Stubbs didn’t have such a broad spectrum of experience in education.

He came to OKCPS from Charlotte, North Carolina where he worked in traditional public schools and charter schools in different capacities.

Previous experience teaching in a KIPP school gives him a familiarity with the heavily-structured and unique KIPP model.

That set of experiences makes him comfortable with the lack of uniformity across the charter schools.

But, Stubbs thrives on getting to interact with administrators of enterprise and charter schools who have more latitude to explore and experiment.

Best part

We asked what the best part of his job is.

“I’d say it’s seeing best practices along the spectrum that could be under education reform and being able to come to the table when decisions are to be made, or when there’s a time for strategic planning,” Stubbs said.

Those ideas can often have a positive impact on the rest of the district as he brings them to the overall district process.


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