Shawna Keller

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Shawna Keller
Shawna Keller.jpg
Board member, Tulsa School Board, District 4
In office
2014 - Present
Term ends
Years in position 1
PredecessorBobbie Gray-Elliott
Elections and appointments
Last electionApril 1, 2014
First electedApril 1, 2014
Next general2018
Term limitsN/A
High schoolEast Central High
Bachelor'sUniversity of Tulsa
Shawna Keller campaign logo
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Shawna Keller is the District 4 representative on the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education in Oklahoma. She won election to the office after advancing from the general election on February 11, 2014, to defeated incumbent Bobbie Gray-Elliott in a runoff election on April 1, 2014.

District 4 includes Columbus, Cooper, Disney, Kerr, Lindbergh, Lewis and Clark, Peary, East Central Jr. High and East Central High School.[1] While the board is a nonpartisan office, Keller was a 2012 Democratic candidate for District 23 of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.


Shawna Keller grew up in east Tulsa and graduated from East Central High School. She attended the University of Tulsa, where she earned a B.A. in history. Keller is involved with a number of community organizations, including MADD, Standing in the Gap, Blue Star Mothers and Oklahoma Honor Flights. She is a teacher at an alternative school. Keller married her husband, Jeremy, in 2004.[2]



See also: Tulsa Public Schools elections (2014)


Shawna Keller challenged incumbent Bobbie Gray-Elliott and newcomer William D. Bickerstaff for the District 4 seat in the general election on February 11, 2014. She defeated Bobbie Gray-Elliott in a runoff election on April 1, 2014.

Election results

Runoff election
Tulsa Public Schools, District 4 Runoff Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngShawna Keller 65% 1,046
     Nonpartisan Bobbie Gray-Elliott Incumbent 35% 562
Total Votes 1,608
Source: Oklahoma State Election Board, "Municipal/Annual School Runoff Election — April 1, 2014," April 9, 2014
General election
Tulsa Public Schools, District 4 General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngShawna Keller 49.8% 220
     Nonpartisan Bobbie Gray-Elliot 36% 159
     Nonpartisan William D. Bickerstaff 14.3% 63
Total Votes 442
Source: Oklahoma State Election Board, "Annual School Election — February 11, 2014," accessed April 9, 2014


Keller did not report any campaign contributions or expenditures to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.[3]


Keller did not receive any official endorsements for her campaign.


See also: Oklahoma House of Representatives elections, 2012

Keller ran in the 2012 election for Oklahoma House District 23. Keller ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on June 26 and was defeated by Terry O'Donnell in the general election which took place on November 6, 2012.[4][5]

Oklahoma House of Representatives, District 23, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngTerry O'Donnell 58.4% 6,202
     Republican Shawna Keller 41.6% 4,412
Total Votes 10,614

Campaign themes


Keller's campaign website listed the following campaign themes for 2014:

Advocate for students

"We must ensure our children are the #1 priority with every decision we make. Shawna will ask the tough questions when it comes to day to day decisions that will directly impact our students."

Voice for teachers

"Our teachers are the first line of success to ensuring our children are educated. It is vital that we provide the tools they need to educate our children. Those tools include textbooks, technology, professional development, and basic supplies."

Expand partnerships

"Tulsa Public Schools has many partnerships that are vital to the success of our children. We must work to continue and expand the successful programs, as well as identify new partnerships that will work well in our district. "

Improve communications

"As your school board member, Shawna will be a voice for the students, parents, and educators in East Tulsa. To be that voice, input from the community will be vital to the improvement of our schools."

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.


Keller cited her top priorities as quality education, healthy communities, health care and jobs.[6]

What was at stake?

Two seats on the school board were up for election on February 11, 2014. District 4 member Bobbie Gray-Elliott sought re-election against newcomers Shawna Keller and William D. Bickerstaff. In District 7, newcomers Suzanne Schreiber and Gene Beach competed for Lois Jacobs' seat. Neither the president nor the vice president of the school board were up for re-election in 2014.

Issues in the district


Tulsa Public Schools was addressing overcrowding in many of its schools. The district had shut down 14 school buildings with low enrollment as part of an ongoing efficiency initiative known as Project Schoolhouse. This left many schools operating at higher occupancy rates. District leaders said they need to pay close attention to ensure that schools did not cross the line between full and overcapacity. Each winter following Project Schoolhouse's institution, district administrators conducted an annual site capacity review, and the Tulsa school board subsequently approved adjustments to school boundaries to help balance out student enrollments among sites. In 2013, Tulsa Public Schools reopened a closed elementary school building as a seventh grade center to help alleviate unexpected crowding at McLain Junior High School. Superintendent Keith Ballard believed that Project Schoolhouse was working and that the district could be eligible to pursue a new bond issue to address capital needs, including classroom additions, in late 2014 or early 2015.[7]

About the district

See also: Tulsa Public Schools, Oklahoma
Tulsa Public Schools is located in Tulsa County, Okla.
Tulsa Public Schools is located in Tulsa County in northeastern Oklahoma. The county seat of Tulsa County is Tulsa. According to the United States Census Bureau, Tulsa County was home to 613,816 residents in 2012.[8] Tulsa Public Schools was the second-largest school district in Oklahoma, serving 41,501 students during the 2010-2011 school year.[9]


Tulsa County outperformed in comparison to the rest of Oklahoma in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 29.5 percent of Tulsa County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 23.2 percent for Oklahoma as a whole. The median household income in Tulsa County was $47,845 compared to $44,891 for the state of Oklahoma. The poverty rate in Tulsa County was 15.4 percent compared to 16.6 percent for the entire state.[8]

Racial Demographics, 2012[8]
Race Tulsa County (%) Oklahoma (%)
White 74.2 75.5
Black or African American 10.9 7.6
American Indian and Alaska Native 6.5 9.0
Asian 2.5 1.9
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.2
Two or More Races 5.7 5.8
Hispanic or Latino 11.4 9.3

Tulsa County
Party Affiliation[10]
Year Democratic Republican Independent
2014 120,346 168,774 44,010
2013 129,137 175,008 43,625
2012 123,640 163,372 38,698
2011 131,324 169,525 41,243
2010 131,772 165,289 39,416

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[11]

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