The setting may be different, but the job is a familiar one for Tippens, who spent the past six years as superintendent of El Reno public schools and worked in the district more than 20 years as a teacher, principal and administrator.
Tippens resigned from El Reno in January, when school board members were in conflict over extending her contract.
The board ultimately voted 3-2 to extend her contract, but Tippens said she thought it was “in the best interest of the district” that she resign.
El Reno received a “C” grade from the state's A-F grading system, which has received much scrutiny from administrators across the state.
Deer Creek Board of Education President David Miller said the board was aware of the situation surrounding Tippens' departure from El Reno but was not fazed by the details.
“We were looking at the tremendous background she possesses,” he said. “The positive things she brings far outweigh anything else we've heard.”
The state Senate is considering a bill that would make changes to the grading system in an attempt to more accurately portray a district's performance.
Tippens said she doesn't think the state's grade was a fair depiction of the district's teachers or progress made at El Reno under her leadership.
El Reno board members Justin Martin and Dorrie Parrott, who voted against Tippens' contract extension, could not be reached for comment.
Board member Bob Lee said he also thinks the grade was inaccurate and that Tippens did an excellent job.
“She did more work than you could ask of a superintendent,” he said. “I don't think you could ask for someone to work harder and do a better job.”
Tippens, who will be paid $140,000 a year and was hired on a two-year contract, succeeds interim superintendent Bill White, who had served since October when Sean McDaniel left to become superintendent in Mustang. With $152 million in construction projects scheduled to be finished by August and a $5 million bond election coming in May, she has to catch up quickly.
Coupled with maintaining Deer Creek's reputation as one of the top districts in the state and dealing with rapid enrollment growth, the order is tall, but she said she is excited to be taking on the role.
Aside from the construction projects, she said her focus is on continuing to implement course standards and map Deer Creek's curriculum for the future.
The district's primary tool for accomplishing those goals is a “professional learning communities” program, which allows teachers to share teaching styles and discuss lesson plans. Tippens said she oversaw a similar and successful program in El Reno, which she said makes her a good fit for Deer Creek.
In a more ambitious goal, Tippens said she hopes to continue integrating more technology into the school, with a goal of each student having access to a laptop in class.
She did more work than you could ask of a superintendent. I don't think you could ask for someone to work harder and do a better job.”
El Reno board member