In the News

DeVos assistant tours Tulsa schools with track records of high student achievement

Andrea Eger, Tulsa World

One of the nation’s most influential education policy leaders came to Tulsa on Thursday for the conclusion of a weeklong tour of schools across Oklahoma.

Frank Brogan, U.S. assistant secretary of education for elementary and secondary education, made stops at Tulsa Public Schools’ Booker T. Washington High School; Bishop Kelley High School, a private Catholic school; and Union’s Darnaby Elementary School.

Brogan said he came to see real-world examples of schools that have successfully evolved and changed to meet the needs of modern students.

“Booker T. has a tremendous reputation,” he said, noting its “significant” variety of course offerings, including advanced-level classes, its culture of high expectations, opportunities for hands-on learning, and racial, ethnic and socio-economic diversity.

Brogan is a career educator who started out as a fifth-grade teacher in Florida. He was elected Florida’s commissioner of education in 1994 and lieutenant governor in 1998 and 2002. He later served as president of Florida Atlantic University, chancellor of Florida’s public universities and then chancellor of Pennsylvania’s public universities.

Brogan was nominated for his current position by President Donald Trump in December 2017, receiving U.S. Senate confirmation in June 2018.

Seniors Sheridan Ramsey and John Benson led Brogan in and out of one physics, one sports exercise and health science, and two arts classes.

“I bet you get a lot of visitors,” he said to Benson.

“Oh, yeah,” Benson said.

Accompanying Brogan on the tour were Tulsa Superintendent Deborah Gist and U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern, a Republican from Tulsa, who could be heard chatting Brogan up about the University of Tulsa’s cybersecurity program.

Brogan’s quickest stop was in an Art I class, which he breezed in and out of.

“I’ve got the best job in Tulsa. Thanks for stopping by,” art teacher Russell Roberts told him.

In other classrooms, Brogan explained the purpose of his visit, told students they were fortunate to attend such an outstanding school and encouraged them to work hard.

Within moments of walking into Lin Tao’s International Baccalaureate Chinese classroom, where fourth-year students were working on a writing assignment, Brogan marveled at the fluency with which Tao’s students spoke Chinese as they bantered with her.


“I always say about the kids: How far you push them — that’s how far they can get,” she responded.

Later Thursday, Brogan went to Bishop Kelley primarily to view its science course offerings in action and to Darnaby Elementary to see the school’s STEM (short for science, technology, engineering and math) practices and character education program.

Earlier this week, Brogan toured schools in Lawton, Blanchard, Pauls Valley, Tecumseh and Oklahoma City.