OK Policy 10th Anniversary Celebration

OK Policy’s 10th Anniversary Celebration

Thank you for joining us on September 13th, 2018 as we celebrated Oklahoma Policy Institute’s first decade of advancing policy change benefiting Oklahomans through research, education, and advocacy. The event honored Sandy Garrett and Kris Steele with OK Policy’s Good Sense/Good Cents Award and featured a keynote talk by Ian Frazier, the award-winning humorist and feature writer for The New Yorker magazine.

If you were unable to attend but would like to make a donation in honor of our 10th anniversary, please click here.

The Good Sense/Good Cents Award recognizes a lifetime of civic engagement based on respectful political dialogue, sound fiscal stewardship, and concern for the less fortunate. Previous honorees are Melvin Moran, Robert LaFortune, and Gov. Henry Bellmon.

About our 2018 Good Sense/Good Cents Honorees: Kris Steele and Sandy Garrett

Kris Steele served as State Representative from 2000-2012, and Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives for the 53rd Legislature (2010-2012). During his tenure in office, he led the charge on a number of reforms in the areas of health care, human services and criminal justice.

Steele currently is Executive Director of TEEM (The Education and Employment Ministry), a nonprofit dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty and incarceration in Oklahoma. He also serves as the Chair of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, a coalition comprised of community groups, business leaders, health professionals and faith leaders dedicated to advancing effective approaches to public safety by increasing access to treatment and programs designed to address root causes of crime. Steele is as a member of the Pardon and Parole Board and a Trustee of the Sarkeys Foundation.

Kris and his wife, Kellie, are blessed with two daughters: Mackenzie (14) and Madison (13) and currently reside in Shawnee. Kris will be introduced at the dinner by former Governor Brad Henry.

Sandy Garrett was first elected to the office of State Superintendent of Instruction in 1990, and again in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006. Garrett was the first woman to hold the office of Superintendent and is the only woman to hold a statewide office for five consecutive terms in Oklahoma. In 1988, she was named Cabinet Secretary of Education by Republican Governor of Oklahoma Henry Bellmon. She worked with Governor Bellmon during the passage of HB 1017, Oklahoma’s Education Reform Act of 1990).

Sandy Garrett was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and later graduated from Stilwell High School. She received her bachelor’s and Masters degrees from Northeastern State University and postgraduate education at the University of Oklahoma and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Sandy was a classroom teacher for 15 years. She would later become the State Department of Education’s Executive Director of Education Programs. Sandy will be introduced at the dinner by her son Chuck Garrett, Executive Vice-President of Cherokee Nation Businesses and a member of OK Policy’s Board of Directors.

About our Keynote Speaker, Ian Frazier

Ian Frazier is one of America’s leading humorists and feature writers. He became a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine in 1974. There and in other magazines he publishes humor pieces, essays, and longer works of reporting. His books include Great Plains, On the Rez, and Travels in Siberia; his collections of humor pieces, Coyote v. Acme and Lamentations of the Father both won the Thurber Prize for American Humor (1997 and 2009). He is the only writer to have won the prize twice. 

Frazier grew up in Hudson, Ohio and graduated from Harvard. He has lived in New York and Montana and now lives in Montclair, New Jersey. His wife is the short-story writer and novelist Jacqueline Carey. Their son, Thomas, lives in Moscow and their daughter, Cora, in Brooklyn, where she also writes humor for The New Yorker.

Event Sponsors (as of August 6th)


  • Arnall Family Foundation
  • George Krumme and Aldean Newcomb
  • Don and Donna Millican
  • Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation


  • Cherokee Nation Businesses
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Citizen Potawatomi Nation/Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation
  • George Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation
  • P. Vincent LoVoi
  • NBC Oklahoma
  • Ruth Nelson
  • Oklahoma Education Association
  • Gene Rainbolt
  • Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation


  • ACLU of Oklahoma
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma
  • Choctaw Nation
  • Ann-Clore and Walt Duncan
  • Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce
  • Jerry and Julie Gustafson
  • Phil and Marian Horning
  • Inasmuch Foundation
  • The Journal Record
  • Oklahoma Hospital Association
  • Oklahoma Public Employees Association
  • Oklahoma State University Division of Institutional Diversity
  • Pat and Ray Potts
  • Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma/Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma
  • Nancy Love Robertson and Sharon Kay Dodson
  • Seminole State College
  • SSM Healthcare of Oklahoma
  • University of Science and Arts Oklahoma
  • University of Oklahoma Zarrow School of Social Work
  • David and Rhonda Walters
  • Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation

Click here for the archived information about OK Policy’s 5th Anniversary Celebration.