Jena Nelson Files for Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

April 12, 2022
2 min read

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - Oklahoma’s 2020 Teacher of the Year Jena Nelson officially filed her declaration of candidacy for state superintendent of public instruction, the constitutionally protected office responsible for overseeing Oklahoma’s public school system.

“I’m excited to bring my years of classroom leadership to the ballot this November and I believe Oklahoma voters will respond to my message of hope and unity,” Mrs. Nelson said. “In the coming weeks and months, let’s start a conversation with Oklahoma’s parents, teachers and students about how we will protect and strengthen public education. Let’s keep our public dollars in public schools. Let’s send a message that our kids are not for sale.”

Mrs. Nelson is the student support coordinator and academic enhancement instructor at Deer Creek Middle School. Her classroom excellence was recognized when she won 2020 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. In addition to being an educator, Mrs. Nelson is mom to 17-year-old son, Rafe, and 12-year-old daughter, Linnea. Her husband, Karl, is a professor and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma.

“The past two years were difficult for everyone, but particularly for Oklahoma’s students, parents and teachers,” Mrs. Nelson said. “We will move forward, past the pandemic, envisioning what education could be for our state, while providing additional resources to address the mental health issues that have resulted from two years of isolation and loss.”

Mrs. Nelson believes teachers are professionals and that they should be treated and compensated like professionals.

“We are experiencing an unprecedented loss of educators in Oklahoma. Not just to other, better paying states, but also to other professions,” Mrs. Nelson said. “Teachers feel overwhelmed with meetings, unfunded mandates and constant new initiatives foisted upon them. To reverse this ‘teacher flight’, we need to reduce class sizes, pay these professionals like professionals and let them focus on what they do best: teaching our kids.”

Mrs. Nelson will be an advocate for bringing together people, not dividing them with sharp, empty rhetoric.

“Getting people who agree with you to be angry all the time might be an effective strategy for winning elections, but does nothing to provide for our school children,” Mrs. Nelson said. “I want the foundation of my campaign to be built on hope: hope for our kids, hope for our communities and hope for our state.”

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