State Superintendent Candidate Jena Nelson Outlines Priorities

Democrat Jena Nelson held a rally in Moore to discuss what she would do if she wins the race for state superintendent.

Thursday, October 20th 2022, 6:08 pm

By: Chris Yu


Jena Nelson, the Democratic candidate in the state superintendent race, held a rally in Moore to outline her priorities if elected. 

Nelson spoke to her supporters at Moore Public Library on Wednesday in an event sponsored by Women in Action. 

"We need a state superintendent who believes in elevating and celebrating this profession that saves and changes lives," she told the audience. 

Nelson, an English teacher at Classen SAS Middle School, has 17 years of experience in education and was 2020's Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. She told News 9 that if she takes office, one of her first priorities is to retain teachers in the profession. 

"Some of the things that we need to do, obviously, is focus on school culture. We also need to make sure that we can pay our professionals a living wage. We also need to make sure that if there are things at the State Department level that we can take off their plate that we should do that in order to allow them to do the job that they love, which is to teach," said Nelson. "If we want to keep our schools open, if we want to see education move forward, that depends on making sure that we have the best educators in our state and educators who want to come to work and feel completely supported by the State Department of Education and by their communities." 

Nelson said another one of her priorities, if elected, is improving the mental health of students. 

"Before the pandemic, we already had the highest ACE scores in the country, adverse childhood experiences," said Nelson. "And when you couple the pandemic with it, and we've seen a lot of issues with behavior and trauma that has to be addressed." 

Nelson said she also wants to keep public dollars in public schools. 

"I think it's important that we also take time to listen to our students and think about the needs that they have," she said. 

Nelson is running against Republican Ryan Walters, Oklahoma's secretary of public education and former high school history teacher. Click here to read News 9's interview with him. 


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