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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister is switching parties from Republican to Democrat to run for Oklahoma Governor in 2022, challenging Gov. Kevin Stitt.

image of joy hofmeister
Joy Hofmeister

Multiple reliable sources told News 4 on Wednesday that Hofmeister will challenge Gov. Kevin Stitt for the state’s top office and run as a Democrat.

On Thursday, Hofmeister made the announcement official with a video on her Twitter page.

Hofmeister is a Tulsa native and former public school teacher. She was sworn in as the Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Education on Jan. 12, 2015, and was re-elected on Nov. 6, 2018.

Her bio on the State Department of Education website describes her as a champion for education reform who pushed for the federal education law No Child Left Behind to be repealed, “arguing against its ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to public education,” the website states.

Hofmeister recently differed with Stitt, expressing relief when the Oklahoma County District Court halted Senate Bill 658, a law signed by Stitt that prohibits school boards from mandating face mask mandates.

“Today is a victory for families, the safeguarding of schoolchildren and their opportunity to learn in-person. The court’s striking of the mask mandate prohibition on SB 658 now enables schools to fulfill their duty to protect and ensure equal protection for all students, including those with disabilities and most vulnerable in our schools,” Hofmeister said on Sept. 1.

Hofmeister also blasted Stitt in mid-September after he announced a first-ever full audit of the State Department of Education following evidence of misuse of funds found in the audit of EPIC Charter Schools.

“I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would clean up state government to make it more transparent and accountable and I am keeping that promise,” Stitt said. “As we make record investments in our public education system, students and parents deserve to know that their schools are spending our tax dollars appropriately and in accordance with the law.”

Hofmeister issued the following statement, in which she said Stitt’s planned audit was an attack on public education:

“The Governor’s call for an audit is yet another attack on Oklahoma’s public education system. 
As the Governor should already know, the State Department of Education has undergone more than 20 financial, compliance and programmatic review audits by the state auditor’s office in the last 6-1/2 years. Additionally, the Governor’s hand-picked Secretary of Education approves every agency expenditure over $25,000 on a weekly basis. Every single spending request has been personally approved by Secretary Ryan Walters. 
At a time during which there are serious audits we have requested which potentially involve criminal activity, and while 541 school districts are struggling to find normalcy during a pandemic, the Governor’s attack on public education couldn’t be worse timing for students, families, teachers and taxpayers.”


The Department of Education website lists Hofmeister’s accomplishments as follows:

  • Provided leadership that helped achieved teacher pay increases averaging $7,300;
  • Piloted a plan to provide the ACT for every high school junior in Oklahoma at no cost to students or districts;
  • Was a chief architect of House Bill 3218, now law, which mandated significant strengthening to the A-F school accountability system;
  • Repealed the seven End of Instruction (EOI) tests and replaced them with a new plan to ensure high-value assessment tools, less time testing, more time for rich instruction, personalized learning and multiple pathways to college and career readiness;
  • Championed laws that strengthen the Reading Sufficiency Act, improve student safety, reduce bureaucratic red tape and combat the teacher shortage;
  • Shepherded the introduction of Individual Career and Academic Plans (ICAPs) into high schools and middle schools in 2017.