The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board filled its vacant District 7 seat by appointing marketing executive Meg McElhaney to the unexpired term this evening.
“I’m excited to get to work,” McElhaney said by phone Thursday night. “I’ve got a lot of learning and catching up to do.”
The OKCPS District 7 seat became open for appointment after the resignation of Jace Kirk, whose term expires February 2021. McElhaney’s appointment by the board after an application process will become effective Dec. 9 and run through February 2021.
The wife of Rep. Forrest Bennett (D-OKC), McElhaney said she initially did not intend to apply for the vacant seat in south Oklahoma City.
“I normally try to stay away from the spotlight. We’ve got enough politics in our household,” she said with a laugh. “After thinking it over, it became really clear that our district needed representation and our district needed someone who was going to be available, be a good listener and not be afraid to pursue equitable policies.”
Asked for his reaction to his wife’s board appointment, Bennett was concise.
“Tonight, I’m a proud husband,” Bennett said.
McElhaney, 28, grew up in Davis and graduated from Blanchard High School and Oklahoma State University. She referenced equity in education multiple times in a brief interview.
“I want to make sure we are ready for the sustainable growth that is happening south of the river,” she said.
McElhaney was praised in a press release from OKCPS.
“OKC’s renaissance is bringing many young people back to the urban core, and Meg brings the voices of those families and many other southside constituents to the table as she joins the OKCPS Board of Education,” said OKCPS Board Chairwoman Paula Lewis. “She is very active in her community and will be a strong voice for the families and students in District 7.”
Superintendent Sean McDaniel concurred.
“I have only interacted with her a few times, but each time I have been impressed with her thoughtfulness,” McDaniel said in the release. “It is very obvious that she loves kids and has a desire to serve her community. Meg feels a deep obligation to prepare our school system for the next generation.”
McElhaney, who works as a vice president at Bridges Strategies said she believes she was one of only two applicants for the position.
“In this district, we have a lot of people who are working two or three jobs and who are facing barriers I don’t have and will never have,” McElhaney said. “I’m excited to get to work. I’ve got a lot of learning and catching up to do.”