OKLAHOMA CITY - The search for a superintendent has been going on since late January, but, on Tuesday, Oklahoma City Public Schools announced the new leader.
With a special meeting Tuesday afternoon, the board named Dr. Sean McDaniel as the new superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools. But, not all board members are happy with the decision.
"No other position in Oklahoma offers a greater opportunity to do more good for children," said Paula Lewis, school board chair.
With that sentiment, Lewis and the rest of the Oklahoma City School Board voted 5-2 to make Dr. McDaniel the new superintendent.
“I have a great attitude. I have high energy. I have great work ethic. My whole adult life I have been preparing for this job," said Dr. McDaniel.
That adult life began at Northeastern State where Dr. McDaniel played basketball, and then went to Oklahoma State University for his doctorate.
Dr. McDaniel has served as superintendent at Deer Creek and is currently the head man in Mustang. He says he took the job in the state’s largest district for what it could be.
“As an inner city guy, I went to school in the inner city - urban. As I look at this, I see potential. Everywhere you turn there is potential," said Dr. McDaniel.
The school board is confident they have the man to stop the revolving door of superintendents. Dr. McDaniel is the 14th in the last 18 years.
“He wants to do great things for us and it came across time and time again, and he is smart. You can look at everything else that he has done and he is competent for this job and he has the heart for this job. He was very clear that this is the only other job that he would want," said Lewis.
Not all the board members shared Lewis’ opinion. Ruth Veales is the longest serving OKCPS Board Member. She thinks the final candidates interviewed don’t represent the cultural makeup of the student body.
“Experience of having led and turned around schools in an urban district and someone who understood the culture of the 82 percent of students of color populations, the district was critical. I did not see this in the final group candidates," said Veales.
“I fully, fully respect what she had to say. It's all fair. Her heart for kids just busted through. I want to have further conversations with her and other committee members to find out where are those gaps, what can we do, bring resources to the needs. I have no heart burn at all about what Ms. Veales had to say," Dr. McDaniel said.
The two dissenting votes both said publicly they will work 100 percent moving forward with Dr. McDaniel for the good of the district.
He is set to make $240,000 a year for three years in a deal that kicks in July 1.