OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 10, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt today named CEO of Every Kid Counts Oklahoma and public school teacher Ryan Walters as his Secretary of Education, a cabinet position that requires Senate confirmation.
"Ryan Walters is a committed educator who has dedicated his life to moving the needle in educational outcomes for all Oklahoma students and to supporting his fellow teachers," said Gov. Stitt. "His perspective as a public school teacher, and his leadership experience as the CEO of Every Kid Counts Oklahoma, will be invaluable as we continue to work toward Top Ten results in education."
Ryan Walters taught eight years as a high school history teacher in his hometown at McAlester High School. During his time at MHS, Walters taught Advanced Placement courses in World History, U.S. History and U.S. Government. He also taught on-level history classes, special education classes and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) classes. The Oklahoma State Department of Education named Walters as an Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Finalist in 2016.
Walters currently serves as CEO of Every Kid Counts Oklahoma and simultaneously teaches AP U.S. History at Millwood High School and McAlester High School in a pilot course through the Oklahoma Supplemental Online Course Program. He previously served as the executive director of Oklahoma Achieves, an education initiative of the State Chamber of Oklahoma that sought to get the business community more actively engaged in education. Additionally, he is a governor’s appointee as a commissioner of the Office of Education Quality and Accountability. As CEO of Every Kid Counts Oklahoma he is empowering teachers, parents and community leaders to improve Oklahoma's education system for all students. Recently, Every Kid Counts Oklahoma led the Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet initiative, which is part of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund.
"I am excited for the opportunity to serve on Governor Stitt’s cabinet as the Secretary of Education and I know my public school classroom experiences will help support Governor Stitt’s education policy initiatives," said Walters. "Oklahoma students deserve what the governor has wanted from day one - for our state to be Top Ten in education. I am honored to serve the State of Oklahoma and the governor by working to improve public education for every student in our state."
Governor Stitt today also issued Third Amended Executive Order 2019-01, creating an individual Secretary of Education cabinet position, and combining the duties of the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Native American Affairs.
As Secretary of Education, Walters is responsible for various agencies, boards and commissions, including the State Board of Education, College and University Boards of Regents or Trustees, Office of Educational Quality and Accountability and the State Board of Career and Technology Education.
Endorsements for Ryan Walters as Secretary of Education:
"Ryan Walters has been a highly respected teacher committed to his students and their success. Our collaboration with Ryan began in 2016, when he was named an Oklahoma Teacher of the Year finalist, and has continued through his membership on my Teacher Advisory Council. He is a great choice, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership in his new role as Secretary of Education during this important time of continued service." – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister
"Ryan is an excellent choice to serve as Governor Stitt’s Secretary of Education. He is a remarkable classroom teacher that has a heart for kids and improving educational outcomes for all students across the state. I have had the privilege to work with him on numerous educational initiatives over the past few years, and I’m excited to continue our work together to lead Oklahoma to become “Top Ten” in education."
– Representative Rhonda Baker (R-Yukon)
"Ryan is one of the most remarkable educators to have served students at McAlester Public Schools, and I am excited about his nomination to join Governor Stitt’s cabinet as Secretary of Education. Ryan’s commitment to excellence in the classroom translates into his passion for achieving excellence in education across our state. Ryan has also committed to empowering teachers throughout his career and ensuring educators have their voices heard when it comes to how Oklahoma students would benefit most from their education. We are proud to have Ryan as a longstanding member of the McAlester Public Schools family; as a student and as a teacher, Ryan has set a standard for McAlester Buffaloes for generations to come!"
– Randy Hughes, McAlester Public Schools Superintendent
"Ryan is an energetic and innovative educator who is always willing to go the extra mile to ensure his students have access to the best opportunities as part of their educational journeys. Ryan taught at Millwood Public Schools last year – and continues to do so virtually this year, ensuring that students at Millwood have access to Advanced Placement curriculum. Though this school year has looked a bit different than years past, Ryan has provided a significant opportunity for his students to continue to learn. He’s ensuring every single one of our students is ready to move forward in their education regardless of the unprecedented circumstances this school year has presented. I’m excited for Ryan to bring his enthusiasm and willingness to innovate into his new role as Secretary of Education." – Cecilia Robinson-Woods, Superintendent of Millwood Public Schools
"I was pleased to hear about Ryan’s nomination to become Secretary of Education under Governor Stitt. For years, Ryan has served Oklahoma students as a teacher and as a leader in pushing for excellence in Oklahoma education. Through his work at Oklahoma Achieves, and more recently at EKCO, Ryan shared his passion to connect Oklahoma students with resources and support from all aspects of our state, and by empowering business leaders and teachers who play a role in ensuring all students have access to excellent education. I know he will continue to bring this level of enthusiasm into his new role and look forward to seeing significant progress in our state thanks to his commitment to excellence and to the Governor’s goal to make Oklahoma a Top Ten state." – Chad Warmington CEO and President of the State Chamber of Oklahoma