Sworn in on Jan. 10, 2011, as Oklahoma’s first new State Superintendent in 20 years, Dr. Janet Barresi is committed to assuring that each child graduating from an Oklahoma high school is college, career and citizen ready by the year 2020. “That means they should be ready for college or the work force without the need for remediation or undue additional training. They also should know something about their government and our nation’s history and be ready to contribute to every aspect of civic life.”
Armed with an undergraduate degree in Education and a master’s degree in Speech and Language Disorders, Superintendent Barresi worked in both the Harrah and Norman public school systems as a speech pathologist. While in Harrah, Barresi ran a special summer clinic for severely handicapped children in need of remediation for speech and language problems. After her work in public schools, she joined the Department of Otolaryngology at the OU Health Sciences Center where she served patients at both Children’s Hospital and University Hospital. Superintendent Barresi also lectured medical students on early childhood development and speech and language development.
In 1984, Dr. Barresi earned her DDS degree and became a dentist who was very active in the community. Dr. Barresi has been a member of numerous professional organizations and has served as the Past President of the Oklahoma Association of Women Dentists. She received the Thomas Jefferson Citizenship Award, an honor bestowed only on those dentists who have distinguished themselves through community service. While running a full-time dental practice, Dr. Barresi still found time to nurture her first love – education.
Dr. Barresi established Oklahoma’s first public charter school, Independence Charter Middle School, after passage of Oklahoma’s landmark charter school bill in 1999. As a result of the success of Independence, she was asked to start Harding Charter Preparatory High School, where she served as board President. The school was recently ranked No. 23 among the nation’s top 50 high schools, according to TheBestSchools.org. The school is No. 9 on Newsweek’s list of the Top 25 Transformational High Schools in the U.S.
In her role as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Barresi serves as chair of both the State Board of Education and the Career Tech Board as well as serving on many other state boards and commissions. She is a member of “Chiefs for Change,” a group of chief state school officers across the country committed to education reform. Dr. Barresi also serves on the governing board of PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), a consortium of 23 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers.