Monday March 11, 2024

Leadership Loss

Oklahoma City Public Schools experienced loss last week. Superintendent Sean McDaniel submitted his resignation after six years in his role as district leader and Christina Rehkop, director of community relations for Devon Energy, unexpectedly passed away at the age of 46.

Superintendent Sean McDaniel submitted his resignation last week and it was accepted by the Board of Education in a split 5-3 vote at a special meeting a few days later. He’ll stay in his role until June 30th. Dr. McDaniel’s accomplishments have already been lauded in the press. He led the district and community through a much needed, but difficult right-sizing in the Pathway to Greatness. He led the district and community through conversations and a plan for the successful passage of a transformational $955 million bond election. Those big things and the many day- to- day things Dr. McDaniel did to change the culture of OKCPS -showing consistent steadfast leadership and care for people and making decisions that were based on what he believed were best for kids are proven by the outpouring of support he’s received from his staff and the community since his resignation.

Christina Rehkop was a passionate supporter of public education and believed in equitable opportunities for all students. Through her leadership at Devon, she played a huge role in placing STEM Centers in all 33 OKCPS elementary schools in 2019. She brought forward the partnership with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, who provided the STEM Centers and professional development for teachers. They had never done an entire district at one time and the project became a community-wide effort led by the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation. A few years later, Christina and Devon placed mobile STEM labs in every OKCPS Middle School.  Devon’s commitment to OKCPS’s Mark Twain Elementary spans 20 years, but Christina’s legacy at the school and OKCPS is indelible.

These two leaders worked with different styles, but had some things in common that all lifelong students of leadership can take away. The best leaders make people feel valued. The best leaders make people feel like they can do more than they ever thought possible. The best leaders are tenacious about what they believe in. Christina Rehkop did that. Sean McDaniel does that.

Their actions helped pave the way for the future of Oklahoma City Public Schools.

They’ll be missed. But, as we grieve we’ll keep doing the work for our kids. As Christina was known to say, “Go Team, Take State!”

–Mary Mélon-Tully, President and CEO of the Oklahoma City Public


Join Us

Be a part of creating success in OKCPS by giving to the Foundation today.


Donate to the 2024 Coat-a-Kid campaign today