Former superintendent of the Claremore, Oologah, and Tulsa school districts Dr. Keith Ballard died on Tuesday after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2020.
Dr. Ballard was a respected member of the education community in Oklahoma and was recently recognized by the Oklahoma House and Senate for his contributions to education at the district and state levels.
Current TPS Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist issued the following:
"Keith Ballard was a mentor, a dear friend, a lifelong educator, and a relentless advocate for Tulsa teachers, children, and families. His legacy can be felt in every corner of our district: from the classrooms of Felicitas Mendez International School - the language immersion school he championed - to the beautiful new stadium at Will Rogers Middle and High School funded by the 2015 Bond.
Dr. Ballard, however, would probably tell you that his greatest legacy is the grandchildren who brought such incredible joy to his later years, and he lit up any time that he talked about Keaton, Emma, Ashton, Kizer, Allison, Olivia, and Matthijs. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to know and learn from him over the last ten years, and my thoughts and prayers are with the Ballard family as they navigate through this incredibly difficult time.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said Dr. Ballard was a true leader.
“Lots of people talk about what needs to be done, but about once in a generation a leader comes along who actually does the work to make it happen. That is the kind of leader Dr. Keith Ballard was for Tulsa Public Schools. He modernized TPS as an administrator, but he also never lost his love for teaching in the classroom - something he did well into his final illness. I was grateful to call Dr. Ballard a mentor, and I mourn his passing alongside the generations of Oklahomans who have better lives because of his devotion to public service.”
Dr. Ballard was 72.
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