State Supt. Janet Barresi names Deputy Superintendent, Indian Education director

 Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi this month will welcome new Deputy State Superintendent of Academic Affairs Chris Caram to the state Department of Education. Also last week, the Republican superintendent named a new director of American Indian Education at the department.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Caram join us,” Barresi said. “She also brings a great deal of technology knowledge that will help propel us further into our 21st Century learning model as we strive to make every student in the state college, career and citizen-ready.”

Caram is from Oklahoma, graduating from Putnam City High School, and receiving her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and her Master’s in School Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Oklahoma.

She is certified as a superintendent and secondary and elementary principal in the state and also holds a technology center administrator credential from the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

Since 2009, she has been the director of education for the Arkansas Educational Television Network, working with the Arkansas Department of Education. Caram previously worked as an associate professor of educational leadership at Western Carolina University and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Barresi has welcomed Dwight Pickering as the new Director of American

Indian Education at the state Department of Education.

Pickering, of Sapulpa, is a member of the Caddo, Otoe, and Kaw Tribes and worked most recently as the Education Director for the Caddo Nation.

“I am very excited about this position, and the opportunity it provides to work with not only the education of Indian children but all children in the State of Oklahoma,” Pickering said.

Pickering has a general education degree from Haskell Indian Jr. College in Lawrence, Kan., and a Bachelor’s of education from Tarkio College in Tarkio, Mo.

He will work with American Indian tribes in implementing a proposed new state plan of education for Indian children. He also will direct the planning and development of statewide technical assistance and professional development programs to improve the learning environment for American Indian children enrolled in Oklahoma public schools.

The Oklahoma Advisory Council on Indian Education (OACIE), a relatively new council of advisors established by the state Legislature, participated in the director’s selection process by serving on the interview panel along with agency staff.

Pickering fills the vacancy left by Valeria Littlecreek, a long-time advocate for Indian education issues. Littlecreek retired from her position but remains active in Indian affairs.