Stitt selects former teacher as new education secretary

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday named a former classroom teacher and CEO of an education reform group as his new secretary of education.

Every Kid Counts CEO Ryan Walters will replace Secretary of State Michael Rogers, who stepped down from the education position last month, citing his workload.

Walters taught history at McAlester High School for eight years and was an Oklahoma Teacher of the Year finalist in 2016.

“Ryan Walters has been a highly respected teacher committed to his students and their success,” State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said in a statement. “He is a great choice, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership in his new role as secretary of education during this important time of continued service.”

Stitt also issued an executive order on Thursday creating an individual secretary of education cabinet position and combining the duties of secretary of state and secretary of Native American affairs. That post had been vacant since last year when former state Rep. Lisa Billy resigned from Stitt’s cabinet amid a dispute over tribal gambling.