District 3 School Board Representative Jennette Marshall has been re-elected to her seat after narrowly staving off a challenge from community leader David Harris. Marshall won a second term with a mere 25 vote margin, according to unofficial returns.
Board member Marshall was first elected in 2017 when she defeated incumbent Lana Turner-Addison to represent the North Tulsa district.
Ms. Marshall, a long-time pastor, has also often been a voice of dissension during her time on the board. Many in the community remain grateful for her vote not to close Gilcrease Elementary School during the 2019 budget cuts.
Influential support gave Marshall the edge
That dissension, however, has also caused significant rifts over the last several years, with past attacks on schools residing within her district drawing sharp criticism.
Marshall’s candidacy for re-election was buoyed by the support of State Representative Regina Goodwin, who said Marshall “genuinely cares for people and works harder than most”. Marshall also received the support of long-time education organizers within the community.
David Harris, Marshall’s opponent, ran as a first-time candidate for office. Harris is the president of the 100 Black Men of Tulsa organization, which focuses on youth support and mentorship. Harris is a father to Tulsa Public Schools students and a graduate of TPS himself.
Inequities in education persist
As the district moves forward from the Pandemic, the deep and long standing inequities of our education system remain. Student enrollment and overall funding have continued to decline over the past four years. It will require innovation, collaboration and a unified effort from the board of education to lift Tulsa students and families out of this crisis.
“I’m looking forward to community and board engagement,’ board member Marshall stated at the start of her re-election campaign. She went on to say she hopes this engagement will lead to “positive and productive change.
Many share this hope that the growing divisiveness surrounding the board will give way to meaningful action North Tulsans deserve.