Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Thursday that Ryan Walters is his choice as Secretary of Education, a cabinet position that requires Senate confirmation.
Walters, a public school teacher, is CEO of Every Kid Counts Oklahoma.
“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 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.”
Walters taught eight years as a high school history teacher in his hometown of McAlester, where he 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 classes. The Oklahoma State Department of Education named Walters as an Oklahoma Teacher of the Year finalist in 2016.
Walters now 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.
“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 Gov. 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.”
Also on Thursday, Stitt issued an amended executive order 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 will be 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.