Deborah Gist


Tulsa Public Schools

Dr. Deborah Gist is the superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, an urban district serving 33,800 students across 78 schools and charter partners. Dr. Gist’s career as an educator started in a classroom at Kirkpatrick Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas in 1988. Over the next 33 years, she served as a senior policy analyst for the United States Department of Education, executive director of Serve DC in the Executive Office of the Mayor, and was named as the first State Superintendent of Education for Washington, DC. From 2009-2015, Dr. Gist served as Commissioner of Education for the State of Rhode Island. During Superintendent Gist’s tenure, Tulsa Public Schools has seen sustained increases in high school graduation rates, novice teacher retention, employee engagement, and the percentage of students meeting projected reading and math growth. Tulsa Public Schools has expanded its dual language programming, opened the only two public Montessori programs in the state, implemented the Seal of Biliteracy for high school students demonstrating proficiency in at least two languages, launched a unified enrollment system, and successfully passed a five-year $415 million bond that will transform teaching and learning experiences across the city. Dr. Gist holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Oklahoma, a master’s degree in elementary education and curriculum from the University of South Florida, a master’s of public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.