Dirk O'Hara

Dirk O'Hara, current president of the Norman Public Schools Board of Education. O'Hara is facing Pixie Quigley in a bid for re-election April 6, 2020. (photo provided)

Incumbent Dirk O’Hara was reelected to another term on the Norman Public Schools Board of Education Tuesday night, preliminary results show.

Unofficial results from the Oklahoma State Election Board show O’Hara received 1,473 votes in the race for the Office No. 1 seat, while opponent Pixie Quigley received 1,034 votes.

O’Hara, a Norman resident of more than two decades, is a local businessman who has served six years on the Board of Education. O’Hara told The Transcript in March that from his experience, he believes his constituents are most concerned with issues of school safety — from COVID-19 to tornado preparedness — technology filters for safe device use and supporting diversity training and anti-bullying measures.

O’Hara said Tuesday he’s “so happy” to be able to serve another term in the Office No. 1 seat, and looks forward to continuing his work with the district.

“There is no greater form of public service,” O’Hara said in a statement. “We can all be flexible, compromise and show kindness through difficult times. These are the examples we need to teach the students of Norman Public Schools.

“NPS is a leader in our state and the country. Let’s all continue to work together to serve our teachers, students and community and further the mission — to prepare and inspire all students to to teach their full potential.”

Quigley is an NPS parent of 21 years who is involved in multiple local organizations. She said Tuesday that she congratulates O’Hara on his victory, and will continue to watch the board’s actions and communication with the community.

“I do hope this election has been a wake-up call for Norman’s school board, and I hope they’re all sitting up and paying attention now,” Quigley said in a statement. “More eyes are on the NPS BOE than ever before.

“Are they going to step up and show the community that they’re ready and willing to communicate with families and teachers? Are they going to start including the community in the decision making process? We are watching, and we’re going to keep insisting that they do better.”

The Board of Education, which meets publicly at least once a month, has final approval on district hires, policy changes, contracts and purchase orders, the annual district calendar and more; members also regularly hear updates on issues like school bond project progress. The five members serve staggered five-year terms. In the last year, monthly board meetings have been the site of sometimes-heated community discussions on issues like back-to-school plans or COVID-19 safety.

Emma Keith covers Norman Public Schools and the University of Oklahoma for The Transcript. Reach her at ekeith@normantranscript.com or at @emma_ckeith.

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Emma Keith covers the coronavirus pandemic and education for The Norman Transcript, with a focus on Norman Public Schools and The University of Oklahoma. She is a 2019 OU graduate.