Message to Teachers from State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister

I want to convey what an honor and a privilege it has been to serve as your State Superintendent of Public Instruction. There have been many amazing experiences throughout my eight years in office – times that I will cherish forever – but none more so than the many opportunities I’ve had to visit our classroom teachers. These visits never fail to inspire and inform. Your voices are critical if Oklahoma hopes to create and maintain a public education system that our children and families deserve.


But Oklahoma needs to do more than merely listen to our teachers. Teacher flight remains a crisis that calls for a multifaceted approach. Competitive pay is not the only remedy, but it is certainly part of any long-term fix. I am proud that during my terms in office an overwhelming majority of the state Legislature enacted two long-overdue teacher pay raises. Nevertheless, teacher pay is a moving target, especially in an environment where Oklahoma is competing against other states. Recent pay increases in Colorado, New Mexico and elsewhere underscore the need for another teacher pay raise next legislative session if we have any hope of turning around the teacher shortage. Oklahoma’s commitment to education should be consistent and incremental. 


Let’s be real. Public education in Oklahoma will not be where we want it to be – where students and families deserve it to be – in a single year, or even three or four. The challenges are formidable in the wake of insufficient per-pupil expenditures, a diminishing teacher pipeline, childhood trauma and the staggering (and still unfolding) repercussions of the COVID pandemic.


But I am optimistic, and you are largely the reason. Oklahoma’s teachers are doing incredible things in the classroom each day to help our kids reach their full potential. You devote countless hours, invest the energy and work hard – often under challenging circumstances – to make meaningful connections with your students and meet them where they are. 


You are the bedrock of public education in Oklahoma. You are heroes. All Oklahomans owe you a debt of gratitude, and so much more.


As I embark on my next chapter, please know that I remain committed to doing my part to ensure Oklahoma’s brightest days lie ahead. And I will always champion you and your work. God bless you all!

Back to Top
Share This Page!
Last updated on December 19, 2022