• Contract approved for Tulsa Public School Superintendent-elect Dr. Deborah Gist

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    TULSA, Okla. - Quick Facts:

    • Tulsa Public Schools approve contract for new superintendent Deborah Gist
    • The contract will span 3 years
    • Gist will receive a base pay of $235,000 each year of employment
    • Current superintendent makes base salary of $175,000 per year

    Tulsa Public School board members worked late into the night Wednesday looking over the final details and then approving the new employment contract for incoming superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist.

    Board president Dr. Lana Turner-Addison tells FOX23 that members were in executive session for nearly three and a half hours because members went line-by-line looking at the details and wanted to get the compensation package right. 

    "Really examining it thoroughly because we’ve been in negotiations for some time now, and we wanted to make sure that all of the board members were fully vetted on the process and have the opportunity to give their input and their feedback," Turner-Addison told FOX23.

    She said in the end, they felt they unanimously put a contract forward that showed that the district not only appreciated Gist's services, but that they were happy to have her in Tulsa.

    FOX23 asked TPS Spokesman Chris Payne about how the compensation package compares to the one current superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard has. Ballard makes a base salary of $175,000 per year, which is more than $50 thousand less than what is being offered to Gist. 

    Payne told FOX23 the district had a little bit more money this time around when it came to recruiting candidates, and that Ballard receives benefits and other forms of compensation not given to Gist that helps close the income gap between the two superintendents.

    "She is the right person at the right time, and we just wanted to give an attractive package to her," Payne said.

    The following is from the news release given out by Tulsa Public Schools:

    Tulsa Public School officials said Wednesday night that the contract for new superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist was approved.

    From TPS board president Dr. Lana Turner-Addison:

    “We are pleased to have finalized the superintendent employment contract with Dr. Deborah Gist.  We feel very confident that we have identified the best person for the job and one who will be a strong follow-up to Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard.  Dr. Gist brings a wealth of experience in urban education and academic knowledge that will greatly benefit the district.  She has served as an educator, school system leader, public sector manager and a public policy analyst for more than 26 years. Her strong belief that every child can learn is well matched with the board’s vision for our district.

    “Given all of the successful strategic reform efforts underway at the District, TPS has gained more visibility in the national spotlight.  As a result, we attracted world-class candidates.  Now we find ourselves in an enviable position where we have come to agreement on the contract with our top choice for superintendent. 

    “Attracting a qualified leader requires a benefits and compensation package that is aligned with our vision and commitment to student success.  As a result, we have come up with a salary and benefits package that is commensurate with Dr. Gist’s experience. 

    “The terms of our employment agreement with Dr. Gist are as follows: 

    • “The contract covers a three-year period, from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2018;
    • “Dr. Gist will receive base pay of $235,000;
    • “In addition to the base salary, there is a retirement package, vacation and health benefits.  Other expenses include car, call phone, insurance and other expenses;
    • “She will also be eligible for an annual performance incentive bonus of $25,000 per year; and  
    • “A retention bonus payable after three years in the amount of $75,000.   

    “In closing, the TPS board feels strongly that this compensation package is competitive in the current market and is in line with Dr. Gist’s impressive skills and experience.  As Board President, I am pleased with the work of the board, as this has been a thorough and exhaustive process.  We also appreciate the work of Dr. Ballard and the TPS leadership team as we’ve navigated the complex waters of the search process.  

    “We are excited to have Dr. Deborah Gist as the next superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools, and look forward to the great things ahead for our students and staff.  Thank you.” 

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