Deborah Gist

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Deborah Gist
Deborah Gist.png
Rhode Island Commissioner of Education
In office
July 1, 2009-present
Years in position 6
Base salary$203,000
Elections and appointments
AppointedJuly 1, 2009
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sUniversity of Oklahoma
Master'sHarvard University Kennedy School of Government
University of South Florida
Office website
Personal website
Deborah Gist is the current Rhode Island Commissioner of Education. She was first appointed to the position on July 1, 2009.[1] Gist will leave the position by June 30, 2015, to replace Keith Ballard as superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools. She was appointed as the district superintendent in February and her contract as Rhode Island's education commissioner runs through June 30.[2]


Gist began her career teaching in Fort Worth, Texas, and later taught in Tampa, Florida. She founded a center on environmental education and initiated the Hillsborough Reads program in Tampa. In both Fort Worth and Tampa, Gist won "Teacher of the Year" awards at her schools.[1]

After teaching, Gist served as a senior policy analyst at the U.S. Department of Education, the marketing and development director of the Discovery Creek Children's Museum, and in the Office of the Mayor in Washington, DC.[3]


  • B.S. in early childhood education, University of Oklahoma
  • MA in elementary education, University of South Florida
  • MPA, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government[1]

Political career

Commissioner of Education (2009-Present)

Gist has served as Rhode Island Commissioner of Education since July 2009.[1]

In 2010, Gist was named by TIME as one of the 100 people who most affect the world.[4]



Gist was appointed as Rhode Island Commissioner of Education in July 2009.[5]

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Political offices
Preceded by
Rhode Island Commissioner of Education
Succeeded by