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Edmond Public Schools selects next superintendent


EDMOND — For the first time in Edmond Public Schools history, a woman will lead the district in a non-interim role.

Angela Mills Grunewald will succeed longtime Edmond Superintendent Bret Towne, who will retire at the end of the 2020-21 school year. The district Board of Education chose Grunewald, Edmond’s associate superintendent for educational services, in a special meeting Tuesday.

Aside from an interim superintendent in the early 1990s, Grunewald will be the first female superintendent of Edmond schools. She has served as a principal and administrator in the district.

With 23,600 students, Edmond is the fourth-largest school district in Oklahoma, behind Epic Charter Schools, Tulsa Public Schools and Oklahoma City Public Schools.

“EPS is an outstanding school district with high expectations and strong community support,” Grunewald said in a district announcement. “Together, with help from our incredible team, I am excited to build on this foundation of excellence and to take the district to the next level.”

Towne announced in October he would end his 39-year career in education at the close of the current school year. He has spent more than two decades with Edmond schools and was hired as superintendent in 2015 to lead the rapidly growing district.

"While I had hoped to mark the end of my career with a full 40 years of service, my declining vision and overall eye health have made it clear that this should wisely be my final year to serve," Towne wrote in a message to district families.

The Edmond school board conducted a two-month search for Towne’s successor. Board President Kathleen Duncan said Grunewald’s vision for Edmond and strengths as a school administrator made her “the perfect fit for the job.”

“From her days as an Edmond principal to her current position, she has long been a driving force behind the success of our district and its students,” Duncan said in the announcement. “Her knowledge of the district — and the relationships she’s built — will allow her to hit the ground running as superintendent.”

Grunewald, 54, began her 33-year career in education as an elementary teacher in Snyder Public Schools, El Reno and Leedey. She first joined Edmond as the assistant principal and principal of Charles Haskell Elementary from 2003-2008 and spent 2008-2011 at Sequoyah Middle School.

She made the jump into a district-level role at Piedmont Public Schools where she served as director of curriculum and instruction. She held a similar title at Mustang Public Schools before returning to Edmond in 2016 as the executive director of elementary education.

Edmond later promoted Grunewald to her current position, associate superintendent for educational services.

Originally from Woodward, Grunewald has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in school leadership from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and a doctorate from Oklahoma State University. Grunewald served as an adjunct professor at the University of Central Oklahoma.

In Oklahoma, a state with more than 500 school districts, about 100 women are superintendents, including Tulsa Superintendent Deborah Gist, April Grace of Shawnee Public Schools, Cecilia Robinson-Woods of Millwood Public Schools, Stacey Butterfield of Jenks Public Schools and Amy Fichtner of Owasso Public Schools.

Although women make up 76% of the nation’s educators, only 27% are superintendents, according to the AASA, The School Superintendents Association.

“I will be accessible and available,” Grunewald said in a statement. “People can count on me to listen to and respect their feedback and input. By working together, we can deliver great opportunities for our students. My focus will always be providing them with a safe, innovative place to learn and grow academically, socially and emotionally.”

Nuria Martinez-Keel

Nuria Martinez-Keel joined The Oklahoman in 2019. She found a home at the newspaper while interning in summer 2016 and 2017. Nuria returned to The Oklahoman for a third time after working a year and a half at the Sedalia Democrat in Sedalia,... Read more ›