Tulsa Public Schools
Deborah Gist is the Superintendent of the Tulsa Public Schools. As a graduate of the Tulsa Public Schools, Deborah is deeply committed to the city and to the success of Tulsa students. Prior to returning home to lead the Tulsa Public Schools, Deborah served as the Commissioner of Education in Rhode Island where she implemented a number of important initiatives including performance-improvement systems for all educators, an equitable statewide funding formula, curriculum aligned to college- and career-ready standards, expanded early childhood education and digital learning to transform education at the classroom level. Student achievement reached historical highs, and graduation rates increased significantly.
Before serving as Commissioner of Education in Rhode Island, Deborah was the first State Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia. She began her career in education 25 years ago as an elementary-school teacher in Fort Worth and, later, in Tampa, where she conceived, designed, and initiated a literacy program serving families in 108 elementary schools in Hillsborough County. Gist holds Bachelor of Science degree in early-childhood education from the University of Oklahoma, a Master of Arts in elementary education and curriculum from the University of South Florida, a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a doctoral degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania. She serves on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), and she is a founding member of Chiefs for Change and a 2012 winner of a Brian Bennett Education Warrior Award from Democrats for Education Reform. In 2008, Gist was a Broad Superintendents Academy Fellow.