OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Most remember Trent Smith as a star player on Bob Stoops’ 2000 National Championship team at OU, but after a nomination from Governor Kevin Stitt for a seat on the Oklahoma State Board of Education, Smith’s notoriety is changing.
The position is already fraught with controversy after the governor fired the person who held it and then his pick as a replacement, a former educator from Enid, withdrew after concerns arose about her social media posts opposing mask mandates.
Now it’s Smith, who comes from a family of public-school educators in Oklahoma.
Governor Stitt said in a statement:
“Trent brings a wealth of experience as a businessman, community leader and parent and I look forward to his contributions to our state’s success by putting students first.”
But a statement attributed to him in a report by Non Doc is raising some eyebrows.
In it Smith said, “I’ve got a lot to learn. Education is a really complicated institution that has been around a long long time.”
KFOR asked Smith if that statement could make people question if he’s admitting he doesn’t have enough experience for a seat on the board.
He replied, “Really, the point I was trying to make is I listen more than I talk and before I do decide to come out in favor of one issue or another, I want to make sure I have all the facts.”
His former coach thinks Smith is the right man for the job.
Bob Stoops issued a statement that said in part, “I know his work ethic firsthand. He pours all of his energy into any task he takes on, and I know he will approach the State Board of Education the same way.”
However Representative Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa) questions the governor’s choice of Smith, saying:
“The best candidate for a State School Board of Education member would be someone who has actual experience in our public-school system as an educator or school board member. We have a multitude of people who have real world experience working with our schools.”
Although, Representative Provenzano goes on to say she does wish Smith success in his new position.
Smith’s nomination still must be confirmed by the Oklahoma Senate.