Education reform failure or opportunity? It’s up to us!
Nationally and in Oklahoma major educational reforms gave us great hope for better results. The reality has fallen well short of expectations. But there is reason for optimism. Robert Sommers, former Oklahoma Secretary of Education and Workforce Development and a life time educator will share the results of educational reforms over the last 15 years, provide a clear set of new approaches that have transformed the private sector and health, and provide ideas for Rotary members to engage in the cause of better youth educational attainment.
Robert Sommers is co-founder of CF Educational Solutions. The company’s mission is to improve literacy, numeracy, and school district quality. Working with educators, the company seeks to be a catalyst for breakthrough student success growth.
Robert served the Oklahoma and Ohio Governors as Secretary of Education and Education Policy Advisor respectively. During his tenure, both states implemented accountability, talent, choice, and operational reforms. He has also led the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.
Robert founded two charter management organizations, Cornerstone Charter Schools (Detroit) and Carpe Diem Learning Systems (Ohio). Cornerstone continues to operate schools in Detroit including the Cornerstone Health High School, he designed in 2010.
Sommers served as superintendent of Butler Technology and Career Development Schools. Under his leadership, the district doubled in size, became the highest performing career-technical district, and became known for creative educational programs including blended learning schools like the Butler Tech Arts Academy. Butler Tech was the birthplace of the Kalmus Ratio, the key performance metric used to guide the district.
Robert served in several capacities with the Ohio Department of Education. During his tenure he was instrumental in transforming performance monitoring systems, program evaluation approaches, and career-technical funding systems.
Sommers’ began his career as an agricultural education teacher. He earned the Ohio Outstanding Young Agriculture Teacher Award in 1985.
Sommers has an earned Doctorate from The Ohio State University where he also earned his Master’s Degree. His undergraduate alma mater is Miami University.
Robert has earned widespread state and community recognition for contributions to business,
education and community service. These include:
- Recognition in The Power 100 articles in Cincinnati Magazine in 2008-2009
- Referenced in The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning Emerging Models
- West Chester Chamber Alliance Business Person of the Year, 2009
- 2010 Butler County United Way Community Service Person of the Year
- Ohio Outstanding Career Development Administrator, 2003
He has also served in leadership positions in numerous state and national organizations.
Chair of the Day
Larry Parman is President of Parman & Easterday, a law firm that focuses on estate planning, elder law and succession planning for business owners. In addition, he is a partner of Notch It Up Strategies, a firm providing leadership and executive development programs for CEOs and business owners.
Larry is the author of Above the Fray: Leading Yourself, Your Business and Others During Turbulent Times, and co-author of two books on estate planning and one on financial planning.
He is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City and has served on many boards, including terms as chairman of Oklahoma City Junior Achievement and CompSource Oklahoma.
From 2011 through 2014, Larry served as the Oklahoma Secretary of State and Secretary of Commerce and helped establish the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Larry currently serves as chairman of the board of trustees of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and as our Club 29 Program Committee Co-Chair with his son Scott Parman.
Larry received his undergraduate B.S. degree at the University of Missouri in Columbia. He then served in the U.S. Army and later received his law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City school of law.
Larry and his wife, Darlene, have two children – Aly, the mother of their two grandchildren in Portland, OR, and Scott from here in Oklahoma City.