Janet Barresi

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Janet Barresi
Janet Barresi.jpg
Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction
Former officeholder
In office
January 10, 2011 - January 12, 2015
PredecessorSandy Garrett (D)
Base salary$124,373
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$2,358,183
Term limits2 consecutive terms
Bachelor'sUniversity of Oklahoma (1974)
Master'sUniversity of Oklahoma (1975)
OtherDDS, University of Oklahoma (1984)
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Janet Barresi is the former Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction. A Republican, she was first elected on November 2, 2010, and assumed office on January 10, 2011.

An education reformer, Barresi helped start two charter schools in Oklahoma and supported charter schools while Superintendent. She also supported the Common Core education initiative at one point, a position which may have played in a role in her 2014 re-election defeat.


Early in her career, Barresi worked in the Harrah and Norman public school systems as a speech pathologist. She then worked in the Department of Otolaryngology at the O.U. Health Sciences Center. In 1984, she earned her DDS degree and became a dentist. After 24 years, she retired from the business to concentrate on educational issues.

Barresi is a strong proponent of charter schools, dating from well before she was elected superintendent. In 2000, Barresi helped to found Oklahoma’s first charter school in the Oklahoma City public school district, Independence Charter Middle School. A few years later she helped to establish Harding Charter Preparatory High School, which now serves 400 students in Oklahoma City.[1][2]


  • D.D.S., University of Oklahoma, 1984
  • M.S. in speech and language disorders, University of Oklahoma 1975
  • B.A. in education, University of Oklahoma, 1974

Political career

Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction (2011-2015)

Barresi served as Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction from 2011 to 2015. Notably, she supported the original implementation of the Common Core education initiative in Oklahoma. She also supported charter schools by working to increase funding for scholarship programs.[3] At the end of her tenure, however, Barresi's position on Common Core shifted, as explained on her campaign website:

I strongly support higher academic standards. At one time, as it was emerging from Republican and conservative ideas from individual states, I did support Common Core. However, as it has become entangled with federal government, it has become too difficult and inflexible. There’s no disputing that Common Core and the debate surrounding it have become a distraction to raising standards. Whether the standards in question are Common Core or another set, what is important is creating and implementing standards that truly prepare our children so they attain their dreams. I have never wavered in my support of greater rigor. The clock is ticking on each and every child in Oklahoma classrooms, and we must press forward to make Oklahoma’s public schools the best they can be.[4]

—Janet Barresi, Janet Barresi for Superintendent official campaign website



See also: Oklahoma down ballot state executive elections, 2014

Barresi ran for re-election as Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2014.[5] Barresi failed to win re-nomination as a Republican in the primary on June 24.

Primary results

Oklahoma Superintendent, Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJoy Hofmeister 57.6% 151,124
Brian S. Kelly 21.4% 56,060
Janet Barresi 21% 55,048
Total Votes 262,232
Election Results via Oklahoma State Election Board.

Race background

As in other superintendent races across the country, the national debate over the Common Core educational benchmarks inspired many candidates to throw their hat in the ring to challenge the incumbent, Republican Janet Barresi. This issue gained prominence when Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed a law repealing Common Core standards in Oklahoma, becoming one of the earliest states to take such a step.[6]

Barresi faced a serious challenge from educator Joy Hofmeister in the primary. While Hofmeister had raised almost $1.5 million by the primary, Barresi only kept pace by loaning over $1.25 million to her campaign.[7][8] Both Barresi and Hofmeister, along with most of the other superintendent candidates in both parties, opposed Common Core and tried to pin its implementation on one another in attack ads.[9] In a debate on June 17 that included Hofmeister and the Democratic candidates, all of the candidates expressed opposition to Common Core and support for a change in educational culture.[10] In total, there were three Republicans and four Democrats contesting the superintendent primaries on June 24.

Hofmeister defeated Barresi in the Republican primary, receiving enough votes to avoid a runoff, and faced Democratic candidate John Cox in the general election.

Primary polling

2014 Republican primary for Oklahoma Superintendent
Poll Janet Costello Barresi Joy HofmeisterBrian S. KellyUnsureMargin of ErrorSample Size
Sooner Poll
May 5-10, 2014
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.


Barresi was first elected Superintendent of Public Instruction on November 2, 2010.

Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJanet Barresi 55.9% 573,716
     Democratic Susah Paddack 37.7% 387,007
     Independent Richard E. Cooper 6.4% 65,243
Total Votes 1,025,966
Election Results via Oklahoma State Election Board

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Barresi is available dating back to 2010. Based on available campaign finance records, Barresi raised a total of $2,358,183 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 13, 2013.[11]

Janet Barresi's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 OK Superintendent of Public Instruction Not up for election $887,275
2010 OK Superintendent of Public Instruction Won $1,470,908
Grand Total Raised $2,358,183


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Janet Barresi's donors each year.[12] Click [show] for more information.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Sandy Garrett (D)
Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction
Succeeded by
Joy Hofmeister (R)