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Ryan Walters taught eight years as a high school history teacher in his hometown at McAlester High School. During his time at MHS, Walters taught Advanced Placement courses in World History, U.S. History and U.S. Government. He also taught on-level history classes, special education classes and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) classes. The Oklahoma State Department of Education named Walters as an Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Finalist in 2016.
Walters currently serves as CEO of Every Kid Counts Oklahoma and simultaneously teaches AP U.S. History at Millwood High School and McAlester High School in a pilot course through the Oklahoma Supplemental Online Course Program. He previously served as the executive director of Oklahoma Achieves, an education initiative of the State Chamber of Oklahoma that sought to get the business community more actively engaged in education. Additionally, he is a governor’s appointee as a commissioner of the Office of Education Quality and Accountability. As CEO of Every Kid Counts Oklahoma he is empowering teachers, parents and community leaders to improve Oklahoma’s education system for all students. Recently, Every Kid Counts Oklahoma led the Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet initiative, which is part of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund.
While a student at Oklahoma State University AJ Griffin was asked her ambition and replied, “to have a positive impact on everyone I come in contact with”. These years later, AJ is blessed to have served her beloved Oklahoma in many capacities and continues to maintain that ambition as a leader in business and as a policy maker changing the future of our state.
As the Director of Government and Community Affairs for Paycom, one of the fastest growing technology companies in the county, AJ leads the company’s interactions with government and community groups across the country while monitoring policy impacting businesses of all types and workers in every state. She came to Paycom following six years of service as an Oklahoma State Senator and a career including years in the classroom and management positions in the hospitality and non-profit fields.
AJ’s true passion is for the children of Oklahoma. Along with her husband Trey and daughters Alex and Reagan, the Griffin family is proud to have been a foster family standing in the gap for a kiddo needing a family. AJ has been recognized by numerous organizations for her work improving the lives of children and making changes in the health and human services fields. She is proudest of her recognition by the Oklahoma Association of Youth Services as the Kate Barnard Outstanding Youth Advocate.
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, Oklahoma Center for Non-profits, Generation Citizen and the Oklahoma Academy have elected AJ to positions on their boards. Additionally, AJ is a member of Rotary Club #29 and SALLT Class #8. She serves on the Board of Directors for Human Rights for Kids, a national policy organization for juvenile justice, and the National Advisory Board for Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center. AJ is a host on Radio Oklahoma Network’s Road to Rural Prosperity Podcast and a guest host on KOKC Radio.