OKC Schools' Superintendent Karl Springer To Retire

Tuesday, July 2nd 2013, 6:37 pm

The superintendent of the state's largest school district says he is retiring. Karl Springer made the announcement at Monday night's board meeting.

"It has been an honor to serve as the lead teacher of Oklahoma City Public Schools. I am humbled beyond words. From the moment I joined this district I had a vision for Oklahoma City Public Schools. Today my vision for the district is the same as it was in 2008; improving student achievement by focusing on the individual student. We have made incremental improvements in student achievement over the last five years by approaching how we looked at the traditional models and proposing dramatic changes," Springer said.

Many of those board members say this came as a surprise. Karl Springer had given them a heads up a couple days ago but before that they say they were under impression he was staying. He even signed a three year contract in February.

Since 2008 Karl Springer has led the Oklahoma City School District. He ushered in such reforms as the continuous learning calendar and a longer school day and for five years provided much needed stability.

"This is hard work," said School board Chairperson Lynne Hardin. "I don't know if there's a harder job in the country then being a superintendent of a large urban school district."

Most recently Springer was criticized for not taking quick enough action in the Douglass High School grade tampering scandal.

But Springer said simply Monday night the timing was right for a change. And Board Chair Lynne Hardin, says she thinks that's all there was too it.

"We were expecting him to stay, like I said this is a difficult job and five years is a difficult job in this position."

But others, like board member Bob Hammond said they suspected this was on the horizon. Hammond says some members of the board, although all admired Springer, believed he had done all he could.

Hammond says such issues as the recent school uniform discussion, the fact that at Classen SAS the district allowed out of district students to enroll, and the district choice to pay consultants caused turmoil especially with new board members. And they were impatient progress moving the district forward.

Still they agree, Springer will leave the district in better shape than he found it.

Hardin says in the next couple weeks they will be putting together a plan to search for their next superintendent.