OK Policy selects Ahniwake Rose as new Executive Director

Ahniwake Rose

NOTE: Ahniwake Rose served as OK Policy’s Executive Director from September 2019 until June 2022.

Oklahoma Policy Institute announced today that Ahniwake Rose, an Oklahoma native who is currently serving as Deputy Director and interim Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C., has been chosen to lead the organization as its next Executive Director. She will replace longtime director David Blatt, who earlier this year announced his intention to step down this fall.

“I’m excited about the next chapter for OK Policy as we build on the solid foundation David has established,” said Don Millican, OK Policy’s Board Chair. “Ahniwake has the background and leadership skills perfectly suited to continue expanding OK Policy’s impact toward a brighter tomorrow for all Oklahomans.”

Rose grew up in Owasso. Her professional career has involved nearly two decades of leadership experience in non-profits and civil rights. After five years as legislative analyst and policy director for the National Congress of American Indians, she became Executive Director of the National Indian Education Association, where she served from 2012-18. Most recently she returned to the National Congress of American Indians as their Deputy Director and interim Executive Director. She has also worked for Nortel Government Solutions and the American Red Cross. A citizen of the Cherokee Nation and also of Muscogee Creek descent, Rose earned a Bachelor of Science in communication studies from Arizona State University and a Masters of Arts in organizational communication from Bowling Green University.

“Assuming the role of the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute is an absolute honor and I am extremely excited to join the talented OK Policy team,” Rose said. “Together we will continue to ensure all Oklahomans have the opportunity to thrive, and I appreciate the confidence that the Board of Directors has placed in me.”

Rose was selected as Executive Director from a field of over 50 applicants.

“The search committee was incredibly pleased by the highly talented candidate pool and we are delighted that the Board voted unanimously to extend an offer to Ahniwake to be OK Policy’s next leader,” said Board vice-chair Felicia Collins Correia and past chair Ann-Clore Duncan, who together led the search committee. “The Board looks forward to working with Ahniwake as OK Policy continues to inform Oklahomans with critical objective data,” they added.

Rose will assume the Executive Director position in late August. Blatt will continue at OK Policy through October to help ensure a smooth and successful transition.

“With Ahniwake taking over as Executive Director, I am highly confident that OK Policy will continue to build on its success and cement its role as Oklahoma’s indispensable source of credible information and effective advocacy,” said Blatt.

Rose added, “I would also like to extend my gratitude to David for his remarkable leadership and look forward to working closely with him in this transition.”

OK Policy works to advance fiscal responsibility and expanded opportunity for all Oklahomans through non-partisan research, analysis, and advocacy. Launched in 2008, OK Policy has grown rapidly in recent years and currently has a full-time staff of 17 people and a $1.8 million annual budget. Rose will join an experienced leadership team that includes Deputy Director Shiloh Kantz, Policy Director Carly Putnam, and Outreach and Legislative Director Sabine Brown.

OK Policy is a member of KIDS COUNT network of state organizations that provide state and local data into trends affecting child and family well-being, and of the State Priorities Partnership, a network of more than 40 independent, nonprofit research and policy organizations that work to advance equity and prosperity.

“OK Policy has gained national attention for how it has informed public debates on ways to make Oklahoma a thriving state where everyone has the opportunity to succeed,” said Nicholas Johnson, Senior Vice President for State Fiscal Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which coordinates the State Priorities Partnership. “Ahniwake has the skills and experience to continue Oklahoma’s national leadership.”



Former Executive Director David Blatt joined OK Policy in 2008 and served as its Executive Director from 2010 to 2019. He previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. David has been selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.

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