Supporters wonder why candidate was overlooked for superintendent

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The search for a new superintendent has been going on since Aurora Lora stepped down in late January. The biggest school district in the state was left with a big task: find a person to stop the revolving door of past superintendents and put the district itself back on track.

The school board has been interviewing candidates and is reportedly set to name their choice Tuesday, but our viewers are asking why one candidate didn't even make it to the interview process.

Lee Roland's record speaks for itself: a proven track record of turning around trouble schools. That's why his supporters were surprised when they saw a video on his Facebook page saying "I was notified, by their search committee, that I was not being considered for the job. In fact, I did not make it to the interview round."

Comments were posted in support of Roland:

"OKCPS will never get back on equal footing until they put a person in there who has a love for students and an understanding of OKCPS. YOU ARE THAT MAN!"

"They couldn’t have overlooked a better person."

News 4 reached out multiple times to the school board for a comment on the search. No one was willing to speak on camera.

"I totally respect their challenge, so I don’t want to cast any dispersions on the district however I applied because I felt like I could make a difference and bring people back to Oklahoma City," Roland said.

Roland's claim to fame is turning around Tulakes Elementary. He took it from one of the worst schools in the district to one of the best.

"We were doing some things right. We were doing some things well," Roland said. "I believe we can do the same for Oklahoma City, proper to make parents say 'I want to have my children there,' teachers to say 'I want to serve there.'"

Roland wrote a book on the turnaround and now travels the country speaking about his successes in education, but he calls Oklahoma City home and said that is important for the next superintendent and why past leaders haven't succeeded.

"Most of them have not been people that are local," he said. "If this is not your home, why would you stay?"

Roland said he thinks he wasn't strongly considered because he doesn't have experience as a superintendent in a large district. But, he points to other famous Oklahomans that didn't have experience before they were hired.

"Who was Mike Gundy, who was Barry Switzer, who was Bob Stoops before they got to those universities?" Roland said. "So, you have to start somewhere."

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