Ballard offered superintendent's job

Oklahoman Published: August 5, 2008
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TULSA -- The executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association has been offered the superintendent's job in the state's largest school district.

The Tulsa school board voted unanimously Monday to offer the position to Keith Ballard. The terms of an employment contract for Ballard, including salary, benefits and any incentives, still must be negotiated but could be ready for a board vote by Aug. 18, board President Gary Percefull said.

Ballard, who is out of state at a national conference of state school board associations, told the Tulsa World he wants some time to consider the offer.

He also said he hoped to meet soon with community leaders and district patrons who were concerned that the board did not have any public receptions, as it has done in previous superintendent searches.

"I want a chance to get to know people and to let people get to know me before I say yes," Ballard said in a telephone interview.

The school board began pursuing the possibility of hiring Ballard on the same night in mid-July that it reached a contract termination agreement with Superintendent Michael Zolkoski, who is to leave on Oct. 10.

Matt Livingood, the board member who first suggested Ballard as a possible successor to Zolkoski, apologized Monday for not communicating more clearly about the hiring process.

He called Ballard a man of extraordinary qualifications who he believes can help engage the community next year in a discussion of long-range goals for the district beyond the ones it has adopted through 2010.

Several board members made a point of saying that they had taken sufficient time and care in considering Ballard, whom they interviewed in a closed-door session July 25.