Teamwork in Tulsa

By Learning Forward
April 2020
Vol 41, No. 2
As a new principal at Hawthorne Elementary in Tulsa (Oklahoma) Public Schools in 2016, Karesha Solomon got a request from the district office to complete her school’s budget. “Why should I change it?” she remembers asking herself. Absent other guidance from the district at the time, she focused on maintaining stability in her school’s resource use, even though many of her school’s students were not performing at grade level. Solomon’s reluctance to pursue significant changes to how her school used people, time, and money was not uncommon in Tulsa at the time. In fact, when Deborah Gist returned to her hometown as the new superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools in 2015, she found a district that, in addition to persistent teacher shortages and startlingly low

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David Rosenberg and Genevieve Quist Green

David Rosenberg ( is a partner and Genevieve Quist Green ( is director of school design at Education Resource Strategies in Watertown, Massachusetts.


Avins, J. & Huttner, N. (2019, July 29). Taking coherence across the chasm. Redstone.

Education Week. (2019, June 4). Map: How much money each state spends per student.

Oklahoma School Report Cards. (2018). Hawthorne ES PK-06 grades.

Skandera, H. (2019, September). Q&A with Deborah Gist. The Line.

Tulsa Public Schools. (n.d.). Academic programs & support services.

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