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Former Teacher of the Year files paperwork to run for Oklahoma state superintendent as Democrat

Courtesy of Deer Creek Public Schools
Jena Nelson

A Democrat appears to have entered the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Jena Nelson, a former Teacher of the Year, filed paperwork for the office Thursday. Nelson would be the first Democrat to enter a race that already has three Republicans.

Though she’s filed paperwork, she hasn’t officially announced she’s running. Her filing was first reported by The Oklahoman.

Nelson was the 2020 teacher of the year for the state when she worked as an English composition and academic enhancement teacher at Deer Creek Middle School in Edmond.

Three Republicans are already in the race: Peggs Public Schools Superintendent John Cox, Shawnee Public Schools Superintendent April Grace and State Secretary for Education Ryan Walters. Those three will have a primary in June to potentially face off against Nelson in November.

In Oklahoma, Republican primaries are only open to GOP party members.

Robby Korth joined KOSU as its news director in November 2022.
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