Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor will rejoin Governor Henry's staff when her term in office wraps up in December. Taylor will join the Governor's office as the Chief of Education Strategy and Innovation.
Her current Chief of Staff, Amy Polonchek, will also join Taylor in the office.
She was the State Commerce Secretary prior to running for Mayor of Tulsa in 2006. As with the Mayor's office, Taylor will not accept a salary.
Read Governor Henry's Announcement
Oklahoma City Gov. Brad Henry today announced that Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor has agreed to serve as his top education advisor after she leaves her city post later this year. In her new role as the Governor's Chief of Education Strategy and Innovation, Taylor will spearhead the governor's education initiatives, placing a special emphasis on innovation and improvement in the public schools. Among other things, the Tulsa mayor will take the lead as Oklahoma pursues various federal grants earmarked for states that implement innovative strategies to boost educational achievement. "I'm thrilled that Mayor Taylor has agreed to serve my administration and the state in this new and important role," said Gov. Henry. "As she does with all of her endeavors, Kathy will bring great expertise, high energy and a laser-like focus on the task at hand. I want Oklahoma to enhance its reputation as a national leader in educational innovation, and Kathy Taylor has the skills to help us accomplish that goal." The new post will be a full-time, cabinet-level position in the executive branch, but Taylor said she will be volunteering her time and will not accept a state salary. "I had not planned to return to public service this quickly, but Gov. Henry made me an offer I could not refuse," said Mayor Taylor. "Our public education system is so critical to the future of this state and many important decisions about its direction will be made in the next year. With the federal government encouraging and rewarding innovation with the Race to the Top grants and other initiatives, we have a small window of opportunity to make a great difference for our state." Before her successful run for Tulsa Mayor in 2006, Taylor served as Gov. Henry's Secretary of Commerce and Tourism for three years. She also served on the governor's first transition team. Taylor will begin her new state responsibilities on December 7 after she leaves the Tulsa Mayor's office. The state post does not require Senate confirmation. Amy Polonchek, who currently serves as her chief of staff in Tulsa, will hold a similar position in Taylor's state office. Her salary will be funded by private funds. ###