Emily Wendler

StateImpact Oklahoma

Emily Wendler joined KOSU in February 2015, following graduate school at the University of Montana.

While studying Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism with an emphasis on agriculture, a professor introduced her to radio and she fell in love.

The Cincinnati native has since reported for KBGA, University of Montana’s college radio station, and Montana’s PBS Newsbrief. She was a finalist in a national in-depth radio reporting competition for an investigatory piece she produced on campus rape. She also produced in-depth reports on wind energy and local food for Montana Public Radio.

She is very excited to be working in Oklahoma City, and you can hear her work on all things from education to agriculture right here on KOSU.

Ways to Connect

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Public school teachers are watching closely as Oklahoma gubernatorial candidates promote and debate their plans for improving health care, tax policy and education.

Alberto Morejon is one of them.

Morejon is an 8th-grade teacher at Stillwater Public Schools largely credited with organizing the teacher walkout in April. He now runs a Facebook page with nearly 80,000 followers, many of them Oklahoma educators.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma education leaders say a state question designed to give districts more spending flexibility will do little to improve public schools’ financial difficulties.

State Question 801 would allow school leaders to spend money in their building fund — currently restricted for things like construction projects, maintenance and repairs, utilities, and custodians’ salaries — in new ways.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Kristin Atchley, the Executive Director of Counseling for the State Department of Education said it’s standard practice for Oklahoma school teachers to yell at kids who are causing trouble, send them to the principal’s office, or tell them to put their head down without much regard for what might be driving their poor behavior.

Now she’s trying to change that.

“We didn’t know what we didn’t know,” she told a group of teachers in a training session at Duncan High School. “Well now we know it, and we can’t do it.”

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Every one of the six Republican incumbents who lost their primary runoff election Tuesday voted against a $450 million tax package to fund teacher pay raises earlier this year, a strong signal that education issues are a priority for voters — and a political movement emboldened by the 2018 teacher walkout could continue to be an influential force in the November election.

In House District 20 near Pauls Valley, voters ousted long-time incumbent Bobby Cleveland in favor of Sherrie Conley, an Oklahoma City Public School administrator, who won by just 66 votes.

A political outsider will be the Republican party's nominee for governor.

Kevin Stitt, a Tulsa businessman, defeated former Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett in Tuesday's Republican primary runoff. Stitt defeated Cornett 55 to 45 percent. 

Oklahoma House of Representatives / Provided

Tuesday is Oklahoma’s primary runoff election and in House District 20, an educator is campaigning to oust Republican incumbent Bobby Cleveland, who’s held the seat for six years.

It’s a theme that’s playing out in races across the state, and the outcome of the runoff south of Norman could test whether Oklahoma educators are part of an election moment — or a true political movement.

School support

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma’s State Board of Education is set to approve a record-breaking number of emergency teaching certifications at its meeting Thursday, a strong indication a statewide teacher shortage is still growing.

Oklahoma Historical Society

As Joyce Henderson and Joyce Jackson walk across the wooden floor of the refurbished Calvary Baptist Church in downtown Oklahoma City, they’re flooded with memories of what took place here nearly 60 years ago.

Calvary Baptist isn’t a church anymore; It’s now a law firm. But in the late ’50sit also served as a rallying point where Henderson and Jackson’s school teacher, and leader of the local sit-in movement, Clara Luper, prepared them for civil rights protests that could have left them humiliated, arrested or injured.

Oklahoma State School Board Association

Results from a new survey show the recent teacher pay raise has had little immediate effect on the state’s teacher shortage, and that schools will still start the year with nearly 500 unfilled positions.

276 superintendents responded to the Oklahoma State School Board Association’s survey on the teacher shortage.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

About 100 teachers and school administrators filed for political office in the 2018 election. Most are not shy about supporting the first tax increase in nearly three decades, even though it’s a progressive political message in a deeply conservative state.

Pro-tax campaigns from educators seem to be resonating with voters in many parts of Oklahoma — but not everywhere.

Polarizing tax package

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