Katie Quebedeaux
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt appointed Katie Quebedeaux to replace Marla Hill on the State Board of Education on Thursday, March 2, 2023. (NonDoc)

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced a new member of the Oklahoma State Board of Education today, selecting Guymon resident Katie Quebedeaux to replace Marla Hill, a home-school parent who had not attended either of the board’s two meetings after Stitt appointed her in January.

“I look forward to welcoming our newest member, Katie Quebedeaux from Guymon, Oklahoma, whose extensive experience in early childhood education will make her an important voice on the State Board of Education,” Stitt said in a press release. “I appreciate Marla’s willingness to serve the state and wish her nothing but the best.”

Quebedeaux, who works as an administrator and coach at Faith Learning Center Academy in Guymon, is slated to be sworn into the seat representing Oklahoma’s 3rd Congressional District at the state board’s next meeting, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, March 23.

“I am honored to accept this appointment and eager to work with my fellow Oklahomans to ensure every student in our state has access to a quality education that fosters intellectual curiosity and a life-long love of learning,” Quebedeaux said in Stitt’s press release.

Quebedeaux’s LinkedIn page says that, since June 2014, she has been a co-owner of the Faith Learning Center Academy, which has three locations in Guymon and bills itself as “the Oklahoma panhandle’s largest privately owned child care center.”

Before that, Quebedeaux taught at Northridge Christian School in Guymon from 2011 to 2016. A graduate of Panhandle State University and Northern Oklahoma College, her appointment comes as Stitt and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters both push for expanded school choice across the state.

Walters recently called HB 1935, which the House passed Feb. 22, a “tremendous, comprehensive school choice plan.” If the Senate passes it and Stitt signs it, the bill would give families refundable tax credits of up to $5,000 for a child enrolled in private school and up to $2,500 for a child who is homeschooled.

In the Senate, Julie Daniels (R-Bartlesville) authored SB 822, a voucher bill that would allow parents to tap a portion of the funding the state would have spent on their child’s public school education and instead use it for private or homeschooling options. It has not received a committee hearing yet.

Rural representation on state board

Besides her LinkedIn page, Quebedeaux does not seem to have much of an online presence. Her most recent public Facebook post is from October, and she does not appear to be on Twitter. According to Stitt’s press release, Quebedeaux is pursuing a master’s degree in Child Development Administration.

Quebedeaux’s appointment also comes as some lawmakers are calling for more rural representation on the state board and for more educational experience among board members.

Though no public school educators currently sit on the board, Quebedeaux, whose husband is a history teacher at Guymon High School, will be the only board member with classroom teaching experience once she is sworn in.

Rep. Mark McBride (R-Moore), who chairs the House Appropriations and Budget Education Subcommittee and who sits on the House Common Education Committee, criticized Stitt’s appointment of Hill in January due to her lack of public school experience. McBride also criticized Stitt’s appointments due to the new members not being from rural areas.

McBride has since authored HB 2562, which advanced out of the Common Education committee Feb. 14 with no votes against it. If it becomes law, the bill would increase the number of seats on the board from seven to 11, with two of the new seats to be appointed by the House Speaker and the other two to be appointed by the Senate President Pro Tempore.

The House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tempore would each have to appoint one former district superintendent and a person from a rural area.

Hill sends resignation letter Feb. 28

In a Feb. 28 email alerting the Stitt administration of her decision to resign from the board, Hill said she needed to focus on a family health issue at this time.

“Please accept my letter of resignation for the Oklahoma State Board of Education,” Hill wrote. “The demands of my mother’s health needs require constant care. Thank you for your understanding. I pray for the children and state of Oklahoma to flourish.”

Hill had not attended either board meeting since her appointment in January, so she was never technically a sworn-in member. On her bio on the Oklahoma State Department of Education website, Hill said she was interested in education in part because of “Marxist ideology prevalent in our schools.”

“[Hill] began to study (…) how America went from teaching the American dream of accepting responsibility, work hard, dream big and take a risk to that of a timid, fear-based, victim mentality that chooses entitlements over creativity and ingenuity,” Hill said in her bio. “Her childhood dream of standing with America’s forefathers has been ignited by the courage of Governor Stitt and many other leaders to step into the fight and be the ‘turnaround’ that our state and country needs.”