OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister has named a new interim superintendent at Western Heights Public Schools: Brayden Savage, a former Western Heights assistant superintendent and director of human resources.

Savage will take over the interim superintendent role Feb. 1.

Hofmeister says the currently appointed superintendent, Monty Guthrie will continue to work for education in eastern Oklahoma.

“Monty embraced the Western Heights community and the challenges. We are proud of the progress he has made within the district, but I certainly understand the draw of family. He will be missed,” Hofmeister said.

Savage is currently the principal at Shawnee Early Childhood Center and spent 16 years at Western Heights in various roles including assistant superintendent. 

“Being back at the district where I have spent most of my career is exciting,” Savage said. “I genuinely love this community – the teachers and staff, the students and their families. I believe that at the core of what we do is the partnership we have with parents and the local community. It is the only way to assure the best outcome for students.”

She also served as executive director of alternative education in the Office of Student Support at the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

“Brayden is a perfect fit for Western Heights because of her deep roots within the district,” Hofmeister said. “She is an experienced and compassionate leader who has supported this community and is dedicated to bringing them stability, hope and a vision for the future. I am thrilled to have Brayden take on this role.”

The Western Heights district is currently under an intervention plan approved by the Oklahoma State Board of Education.

In April 2021, the State Board placed Western Heights on probation, citing a list of problems.

Western Heights was given 90 days to take corrective action or risk losing accreditation.

Western Heights School District announced its lawsuit later that month.

Since that time, Western Heights’ former superintendent, Mannix Barnes’ certification was suspended and the State Board of Education adopted an intervention plan along with a new superintendent, Monty Guthrie.

The Western Heights School Board then appointed their own superintendent, Kim Race – the schools’ assistant superintendent at the time.

However, an Oklahoma County District Court judge ruled in favor of the State for its actions against the district school board.