June 9, 2014

Okla. City School Board Member Resigns After Taking New Job

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Jay Means

Jay Means

Nate Robson

Nate Robson

EDUCATION WATCH BLOG

June 20, 2014

Oklahoma City Public Schools board member Jay Means resigned Monday, saying it was naïve of him to think he could make a 280-mile round-trip commute for a new job and maintain a presence in Oklahoma City.

“Kind of, in a way, it’s a relief,” Means said. “If something happened down here, it would be a problem to try and be in both places. Both places need someone who can be there.”

Means was named the new principal at Woodward Middle School in western Oklahoma in May.

You can read his resignation letter here.

Means said the highlight of his term was helping appoint Rob Neu as the district’s new superintendent for the upcoming school year.

Means was in his final year representing District 6, which includes Arthur, Coolidge, Fillmore, Heronville, Hillcrest, Prairie Queen, Rancho Village, Stand Watie and Van Buren elementaries; Jefferson Middle and Roosevelt middle schools; and U.S. Grant High School.

Means’ resignation will be accepted at the July 1 school board meeting.

The board has 60 days to appoint a replacement to finish the term, which ends in February. If no one is appointed to finish the term, the district must hold a special election.

That process includes:

• Setting a date and time to receive applications to fill the vacancy.
• Applicants must file an application, notification and declaration of candidacy with the school board clerk.
• The board will then interview applicants.
• The board will vote on the appointment in open session.

Board Chairwoman Lynne Hardin praised Means in the wake of his decision.

“The Board applauds Mr. Means for his service to students and families in District 6. He has been a dedicated public servant and supporter of education before and during his tenure as a Board member.” she said in a press release. “Woodward Public Schools is receiving a strong advocate for children and we wish him all the best,” said Lynne Hardin, OKCPS Board Chairperson.”

On June 9, 2014, we reported that:

Can a school board member do a good job when he’s living and working five days a week in another city?

That question could arise with Jay Means, an Oklahoma City Public Schools board member who in May was named the new principal at Woodward Middle School.

Jay Means

Jay Means

Means, who is entering the final year of his four-year board term, faces a 140-mile one-way commute to the new job in Woodward, but he said that won’t cause him to abandon his place on the school board. He and his family will keep their primary residence in the south Oklahoma City District 6 that he represents as a board member. His children attend high school in the area.

“This is where I live, this is where my family lives,” Means said. “I will just be working out of town.”

District policy and state law requires that board members are a resident of, and registered to vote in, the district they represent.

Means, who previously worked as an English teacher for Calumet Public Schools while on the Oklahoma City board, will have to live in Woodward during the week as a condition of his job. But he said attending bi-weekly Oklahoma City school board meetings was a condition of accepting the position.

Means has not decided if he will seek re-election, but added he believes any attempts to use his commute as a campaign issue will fail.

“Basically as a board member, we are working at the operation of the superintendent and voting on his recommendations,” Means said. “I read the agendas, I have questions, I make sure we are on the right track.”

Means has until the first week of December to decide if he will run, according to state law. The election is Feb. 10.

Means said he is waiting to see what happens with the future of academic standards and whether the district will resume opening school board meetings with prayer before deciding whether he will seek re-election.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision cleared the way for the town of Greece, N.Y., to open its meetings with prayer earlier this year.

Nate Robson can be reached at nrobson@oklahomawatch.org

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