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Stitt appoints new Oklahoma State Board of Education members

 Oklahoma State Board of Education members gather for a September 2023 meeting.
Beth Wallis
StateImpact Oklahoma
Oklahoma State Board of Education members gather for a September 2023 meeting.

Gov. Kevin Stitt appointed two new members to the State Board of Education, filling the remaining vacancies on the board left by former members Suzanne Reynolds and Trent Smith.

Reynolds stepped down from the position earlier this month, and Smith left the board in May.

Stitt appointed Alex Gray to represent Smith’s District 5, which covers central Oklahoma and parts of Oklahoma City. Gray is a managing partner at strategic advisory firm American Global Strategies. He also serves in senior positions at several other foreign policy research organizations, including the American Foreign Policy Council and the Marathon Initiative.

Gray sits on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee Foundation, which describes itself as, “Restoring the Biblical foundations of Western civilization, working to redeem the minds of the next generation.” He also chairs the “Oklahoma China Readiness Working Group” at conservative think-tank Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

Gray also worked in former President Trump’s White House as the deputy assistant to the President and chief of staff of the National Security Council. He also ran for the Republican nomination to fill former U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s seat in 2022, but lost handily, receiving 0.9% of votes.

“I believe the future of our country is in Oklahoma classrooms, and I’m eager to work with my fellow board members to ensure that every Oklahoma student has the opportunity to live their American Dream,” Gray wrote in a press release sent by the Governor’s office.

In the release, the governor calls Gray a “dedicated public servant with a proven record of defending Oklahoma values.”

“[Gray’s] unique background will bring a new perspective that will greatly contribute to the Board’s mission,” Stitt wrote.

Stitt appointed financial advisor Zach Archer to fill Reynolds’ at-large seat on the board, which doesn’t serve a specific district. Archer is the managing director of Great Plains Investment Services, and he also serves as vice president of the Hammon Public School Board.

“I am honored to have Governor Stitt’s trust to serve on the Oklahoma State Board of Education,” Archer said in the release. “As a parent and a current local school board member, I take this appointment very seriously and look forward to working on behalf of all Oklahoman students.”

In the release, Stitt called Archer a “passionate advocate for students.”

“[Archer’s] investment in his community gives me confidence that he will work tirelessly for students across Oklahoma,” Stitt wrote.

The next State Board of Education meeting is Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Oliver Hodge Education Building.

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Beth Wallis is StateImpact Oklahoma's education reporter.
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