Fallin appointments made in higher education, common education, transportation

Governor Mary Fallin today (Friday, April 8) announced she has appointed retired Major General Toney Stricklin of Lawton to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Late last week, the chief executive named her first appointment to the state Board of Education. Additionally, Fallin’s choices for the transportation commission are remaking that body. 

 Stricklin is a retired U.S. Army officer and previously served on the State Board for Career and Technology Education and as chairman of the Information Technology Panel for the Oklahoma Economic Development Generating Excellence (EDGE) initiative.  Both were gubernatorial appointments.

 “Our colleges and universities are vital to producing the kind of skilled and educated workforce we need in order to compete globally. As governor, I’ll continue to support our higher education institutions while always looking for ways we can improve,” Fallin said. “As a former Army officer and longtime civic volunteer, Toney Stricklin is an experienced leader who will work to ensure our colleges and universities continue to provide a quality education for our students and help to build the skilled workforce our businesses need to succeed.”

 Stricklin spent more than 32 years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, including serving as commanding general of the Army’s Field Artillery Center at Fort Sill.  During his career, he served in a variety of command positions in the United States, Germany, Korea and Vietnam.  Selected by the Secretary of the Army in 2008, Stricklin served a two-year term as civilian aide to the secretary of the Army for Oklahoma.

 “I’m honored the governor has selected me to serve in her administration,” Stricklin said. “I share Governor Fallin’s commitment to supporting and improving our colleges and universities.”

 He also served as vice chairman of military and government relations for the Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  He is chairman of the Military Liaison Committee for The State Chamber of Oklahoma.

 Stricklin holds a master’s degree in international relations from Newport College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cameron University, where he was honored in 2006 as a distinguished alumnus.

 Stricklin replaces Don Davis, an attorney from Lawton, on the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Davis’ term has expired. Stricklin’s appointment will require Senate confirmation.

 Last week, Gov. Fallin today appointed Phil Lakin, Jr. of Tulsa to the Oklahoma State Board of Education. 

 Since 1999, Lakin has been the chief executive officer of the Tulsa Community Foundation, the largest community foundation in America. Prior to that, Lakin served as regional director of development for Baylor University.

 Lakin is also the current president of the Tulsa Educare early childhood education centers and serves on the board of the Tulsa Community College Foundation. He is active in numerous civic organizations such as the Folds of Honor Foundation, Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc., the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, United Way and the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

 “Phil Lakin is an accomplished civic leader who is absolutely dedicated to improving student achievement,” said Fallin. “I know he’ll work well with our other board members and Superintendent Barresi to pursue the improvements in education that Oklahoma’s children deserve.”

 Lakin is a graduate of Jenks High School and serves as secretary of the Jenks Public Schools Foundation.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s of business administration, both from Baylor University.

 “I am honored to have the opportunity to work with Governor Fallin, Superintendent Barresi and other board members to help provide a high quality education to every child in Oklahoma. Nothing is as important to Oklahoma’s future and the long-term health of our economy as improving education and developing a more educated, highly skilled workforce.”

 Lakin and his wife Adriane have been married 15 years and have three sons:  Brooks, Alex and Cooper.  All of his children attend Jenks Public Schools.

 The appointment requires Senate confirmation.  Lakin replaces Tim Gilpin, who had been the board’s harshest critic of Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi. Gilpin led  opposition to her executive appointments while questioning the credentials of her staff.
 Appointed to the board by former Governor Brad Henry, Gilpin’s term came to a natural end. However, Republican proposals are advancing to give both greater authority to state superintendents and to refashion the Board of Education by allowing governors to name members after taking office. 

 Thursday (Apirl 7), Fallin announced her nominees for the eight members of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission. Senate confirmation is required. They are:

· District 1: John Fidler of Okmulgee, current executive vice president at Citizens Security Bank; replaces Carlisle Mabrey III.

· District 2: J. David Burrage of Atoka, current president and CEO of FirstBank; replaces James H. Dunegan.

· District 3: Danny Blaine Overland of Shawnee, currently a senior vice president of the Pottawatomie Telephone Corporation; re-appointed.

· District 4: Greg M. Love of Oklahoma City, currently the president of the Loves Development Company; replaces Jackie R. Cooper.

· District 5: C. Todd Huckabay of Snyder, currently the president and CEO of Bank of the Wichitas; replaces Loyd Benson.

· District 6: Bobby J. Alexander of Woodward, owner and operator of Power Rig; replaces Bruce Benbrook.

· District 7: Bradley Warren Burgess of Lawton, currently the managing partner at the Burgess and Hightower law firm; re-appointed.

· District 8: Peter J. Regan of Tulsa, currently an attorney at Devonshire Investments and former ODOT commissioner; re-appointed.

“Maintaining and continuing to improve and expand our transportation infrastructure is extremely important to the health of our economy and our goal of creating more and better jobs in Oklahoma,” Fallin said. “Each one of these individuals has demonstrated competence and leadership, and I know they’ll serve their state well on the Transportation Commission.”
Note: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.