Janet Barresi became the first new state superintendent in 20 years on Jan. 10, 2011. Her goal is to take bold action to help students succeed in college, career and citizenship.
Since she was sworn in she led the implementation of several top-to-bottom reforms, passed through the legislature and signed by the governor, that aim to ensure students in Oklahoma public schools receive the best education possible. Transparency, accountability, high expectations and an emphasis on literacy and critical thinking are the trademarks of these efforts.
Supt. Barresi was one of the first advocates for charter schools in Oklahoma. In 2000 she established the state’s first charter school, Independence Charter Middle School. She founded Harding Charter Preparatory High School in 2003. Both schools have achieved great success. Independence serves more than 350 students and has a waiting list of applicants every year. Harding focuses on serving inner-city students, many of whom are low-income, and regularly ranks as one of the best high schools in the country.
Earlier in her career Barresi worked for Harrah and Norman Public Schools as a speech pathologist. She later joined the Department of Otolaryngology at the OU Health Sciences Center.
Supt. Barresi has two sons, twins Ben and Joe, who played on NCAA Division I football teams for separate Stoops brothers. She has a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in speech pathology and a doctorate in clinical dentistry from the University of Oklahoma. For 24 years she was a dentist with her own private practice in Oklahoma City.