Dr. John Turner, center, who spent seven years as Whitesboro Public Schools superintendent and nine years as Arkoma Public Schools superintendent, was hired Thursday afternoon as Poteau Public Schools’ interim superintendent, succeeding retiring superintendent Dr. Don Sjoberg, whose final day in office will be Friday. Sharing in the moment are Poteau Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Diane Tillery, left, and Poteau Public Schools Board of Education President Ranada Adams.
PDN photo by David Seeley
Both the retiring Poteau Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Don Sjoberg and the district's Board of Education can rest easy knowing there will be someone in Sjoberg's office come Aug. 1.
In a special noon Thursday meeting at the Bert Corr Administration Building, the board, which met in an executive session for 45 minutes prior to making the decision, unanimously hired Dr. John Turner as the district's new interim superintendent to succeed Sjoberg, whose retirement will begin after his final day in office on Friday.
"I talked to a person (Monty Guthrie, former Poteau High School principal and assistant Superintendent who is now the new Eufaula Public Schools superintendent), who had worked here before," said Turner, who also has been superintendent in two other LeFlore County school districts — Arkoma for nine years, and Whitesboro prior to that for seven years — and has been in the education field for about half a century, which includes being a superintendent for some years in New Mexico. "He said it was a fine district — a good district. I'm very excited."
"Dr. Turner has a great resume," Poteau Public Schools Board of Education Board President Ranada Adams said. "He's been a superintendent at several different schools in Oklahoma. He has worked with the state (education) department (Oklahoma State Department of Education) as well. He came highly recommended by Monty Guthrie. We're looking forward to having him help us out while we continue our search."
Turner said the major reason for making himself a candidate was he was ready to get back to the old routine after he retired as Arkoma Public Schools superintendent.
"I've been retired, and I'm ready to go back to work," he said.
Since Turner got the quick notice about even being asked to come to Thursday's meeting for an interview, let alone being hired as Poteau Public Schools' new interim superintendent, he said he will need to check with his new staff to see what direction he wishes to take the district.
"I just found out about (Thursday's interview) this (Thursday) morning," Turner said. "I'll have to do some thinking. I know I would like to familiarize myself with the staff and get input from them. I rely on input from my employees
Adams said the board is still searching for a full-time superintendent.
"We don't have a date set at this point," she said. "Obviously, we would have liked to have had it (new superintendent hired) this year, but we don't have one yet."
Turner said that it's a bit early to even think if he will end up being a candidate for that position.
"I'm not sure at this time," he said. "It's just too early."

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