Summer is almost over for 46,000 students enrolled in Oklahoma City Public Schools. Wednesday is the first day of class in the state’s largest school district, which has a new superintendent — its eighth one in the past decade.
Sean McDaniel became the district’s new superintendent in late May. Before that, he led Mustang Public Schools for six years.
McDaniel says he spent the spring and summer meeting with people throughout the district and studying financial and academic documents. He says he doesn’t want to be the guy that comes and in and starts changing policies and practices immediately —so he’s still listening and learning.
He does hope to come up with a set of three to five academic goals that the district will focus on. But, McDaniel says before academics can improve the district must ensure kids’ foundational needs are met.
"If we’ve got hungry kids, and kids who are fearful, they’re not ready to take tests. So we’ve got to address those things first—maybe not first, but simultaneously."
McDaniel says previous district goals weren’t always implemented effectively. Now, some parts of the district are doing better than others, and he wants to get everybody on the same page.
"It’s not about whether we have the latest greatest plan, but rather people who are like minded moving in the same direction."
He says he hopes to hold the position for "a long time." His predecessor only lasted a year and a half.