By Robert Medley
Longtime educator Ranet Tippens, who has led the Deer Creek Schools district through exponential growth over recent years, has announced her retirement.
School board members approved a contract in a special meeting Monday, May 25 with the Oklahoma State School Boards Association to conduct a search for Tippens’ successor.
Members present at the meeting , Mike Kiehn, Kelli Lay, Andi Neaves, Danny Barnes and Lorrie Bamford voted to approve the contract for the search.
Tippens, who has been El Reno Schools superintendent for six years, and served as a principal and teacher during her career, said a new superintendent in Deer Creek should be in place between Aug. 1 and Oct. 1, and she plans to stay aboard during the transition.
Tippens said she thanks the Deer Creek Board of Education, Deer Creek administrators, teachers, and families “for the incredible opportunity” to lead Deer Creek Schools.
“The past eight years have flown by,” Tippens said. “It is truly the culmination of my lifelong career and education, and it has been an honor and a privilege. My support of Deer Creek Schools will not end upon retirement. I will always be an ardent supporter and a voice in Oklahoma City, Edmond, and at the Capitol for Deer Creek Schools.”
Tippens was hired as the Deer Creek Schools superintendent in 2013. The district has grown to more than 6,700 students and a 6A class status in sports. The enrollment for the district from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade for 2020-2021 was 6,729 students.
Tippens said the district has grown by about 300 to 400 students a year, but the district receives the “lowest general fund per pupil in the state. Yet, despite the impact of the pandemic, has grown its fund balance.
“Our district finance office staff led by James Edwards is small but mighty,” Tippens said. “James has been instrumental in working with county and city planning commissions sharing Deer Creek’s funding, rapid growth and road, water, sewer and power infrastructure concerns through charts, graphs and spreadsheets in an effort to reduce the high density housing that is and will overcrowd Deer Creek’s schools.”
A community survey about the search for a superintendent is expected to be available online and public forums are possible. The amount of time for the search could be reduced to hire someone to take over before the first day of school in August.
Applications would be taken online through the OSSBA, board members were told by a representative at the special board meeting.
Names of applicants would be kept confidential. A salary range would be determined for the search. According to the State Department of Education, the Deer Creek superintendent’s total compensation annually is $201,961.
Other area superintendents’ annual salaries include Yukon, $263,760, Mustang, $259,271, Edmond, $205,098 and Piedmont, $187,433.