Fact Check: Are State Superintendent Candidates Certified Educators?

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Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch

Superintendent candidates John Cox, Joy Hofmeister and Linda Murphy are seen at a forum hosted by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association in Oklahoma City on Aug. 24.

Several of the candidates for state superintendent of public instruction brought up their certification or classroom experience on Friday at a forum hosted by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. Of course, whether a candidate holds a teaching certificate isn’t the only issue voters should consider, but I thought voters might find it valuable if I  fact-checked the candidates’ claims. Which of the candidates for the superintendent’s race are actually certified educators? A search of all certified Oklahoma teachers can be found here.

Here’s each candidate, in alphabetical order.

Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Superintendent candidate John Cox speaks at a forum hosted by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association in Oklahoma City on Aug. 24.

John Cox (Rodney J. Cox in the database), Democratic nominee and superintendent of Peggs Public Schools, said he’s served 33 years in public education, and 25 as superintendent. “I live it everyday,” he said. Fact: Cox holds a current Oklahoma certification in twelve areas: algebra, analysis, calculus, computer science, general mathematics, geometry, linear algebra, psychology, trigonometry, and principal for grades 5 through 12, and school counselor and superintendent for all grade levels. All were renewed in 2017 and are valid through 2022.

Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Current State Superintendent and candidate Joy Hofmeister speaks at a forum hosted by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association in Oklahoma City on Aug. 24.

Joy Hofmeister, Republican incumbent, said the need for leadership and a strong public education system “has always been my focus as the mom of four public school kids and as a public school teacher as well.” Fact: Hofmeister holds a Texas educator certificate in two subject areas: elementary English and elementary self-contained. Her certificates were issued in 1988 and are valid for life.

Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Linda Murphy, candidates for state school superintendent, speaks at a forum hosted by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association in Oklahoma City on Aug. 24.

Linda Murphy, Republican challenger, said she’s a 30-year certified teacher, certified in the state of Oklahoma. Fact: The state Education Department website shows Murphy’s most recent Oklahoma certification, valid from 2005-2010 in five subject areas: elementary education, language arts, learning disability, mentally handicapped and middle school social studies. Murphy said she was first certified in 1978 and was in the classroom for a total of four years. (Much of her experience comes from working in a private clinical setting with students with vision-related learning disabilities and substitute teaching.)