FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
OJA Board Elects Chairman after Reorganization
OKLAHOMA CITY (MARCH 29, 2019) — Board members of the newly constituted Oklahoma Board of Juvenile Affairs today elected Warren A. “Tony” Caldwell as chairman of the nine- member board
Caldwell, of Oklahoma City, was elected during today’s first meeting since legislation was approved earlier this month changing the size and makeup of the board, which is the rulemaking body for the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA). The board’s other duties include approving OJA’s annual budget request, assisting staff with priorities and policies of the agency and establishing procedures and payment rates for contracting agencies.
Eight of the nine board members have been appointed. Other board members are Dr. Amy Emerson, Mautra S. Jones, Dr. Stephen E. Grissom, Karen Youngblood, Janet Foss, Sean Burrage and Jenna Worthen. The new board includes six of the seven members of the previous OJA board - Caldwell, Grissom, Jones, Youngblood, Foss and Burrage. Caldwell served as chairman of that board.
“I look forward to working with the members of our newly constituted Board of Juvenile Affairs to ensure the agency continues to provide professional prevention, education and treatment services for all juveniles in its care as well as community prevention to divert juvenile delinquency,” said OJA Executive Director Steven Buck. “I appreciate the governor and legislative leaders for their nominees. We have two new board members who bring unique talents and energy to our agency as well as several returning members who will provide continuity for our agency to help young people find healthy productive trajectories.”
“I’m really excited that we have an expanded board because that gives us additional capability and knowledge that will be useful to OJA,” Caldwell said. “I’m excited to be reappointed. There were many things that the executive director and I set as goals over three years ago when he was hired to really make OJA the organization for the unfortunate children in our care that we want it to be and we’re not finished with that. I very much appreciate the confidence of my colleagues on the board for electing me as chair to continue to guide the work that they do.”
Under House Bill 2479, which took effect immediately, the governor has the authority to hire the agency's executive director with Senate confirmation. Previously, the OJA board hired the agency’s executive director.
The legislation also changed the makeup of OJA’s board from seven members all appointed by the governor to four-year terms and confirmed by the Senate to a nine-member board. The governor appoints five members and the speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore each appoint two.
Members serve at the pleasure of the person making the appointment and may be removed or replaced without cause by his or her appointing authority. Before, each of the state’s five congressional districts had to be represented; now, there are no geographic restrictions on board members.
Governor Kevin Stitt appointed:
Dr. Amy Emerson, of Tulsa, who has worked with the families of Tulsa Educare since 2008. She completed medical school at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine before embarking on a residency in pediatrics. As an advisory board member of Reach Out and Read Oklahoma, she has encouraged more than 100 Tulsa physicians and primary care providers to include a new book and early literacy information at well child check-ups. She serves as medical consultant for several early learning centers in Tulsa, and is actively involved in advocacy work to support children living in foster care.
Dr. Stephen E. Grissom, of Tulsa, a licensed psychologist who currently serves as an instructor in the department of psychology and counseling at Northeastern State University-Broken Arrow. Grissom has also taught at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, Northeastern State University, Tulsa Community College, and Langston University-Tulsa. Before that, he was chief psychologist for OJA. He holds a B.S.E in Mathematics from Missouri Southern State College and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from Oklahoma State University.
Mautra S. Jones, of Oklahoma City, vice president for institutional advancement and external affairs at Langston University and executive director of the Langston University Foundation. Jones previously worked at a variety of nonprofit organizations in administration. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Business Administration, and is a doctoral candidate at Vanderbilt University.
Karen Youngblood, of Oklahoma City, executive director of customized education at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO). Specializing in organization development and educational leadership, Youngblood previously served at UCO as director of staff leadership development and external training, director of leadership outreach and scholar programs, and director of transportation and parking services. She holds a Bachelor of Science in business management from Friends University and a Master of Education, Adult Education and Training from UCO.
Janet Foss, of Norman, a retired special district judge for Cleveland County, serving from 1992 to 2016. She has worked with juveniles in many capacities during her career, including as a social worker, assistant district attorney and juvenile judge. Before being named a judge, Foss worked as a Cleveland County assistant district attorney and as a social worker in Cleveland County for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Foss holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from the University of Oklahoma and a Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat appointed:
Warren A. “Tony” Caldwell, of Oklahoma City, chief executive officer of Oklahoma Agents Alliance, one of the country’s largest regional insurance distributors. He was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1992 and served two terms. He previously served as vice chairman of the Oklahoma Board of Corrections. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in government from Centenary College of Louisiana and attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
House Speaker Charles McCall appointed:
Jenna Worthen, of Oklahoma City, chief executive officer of James Martin Company. She has spent more than a decade crafting strategic communications and implementing development strategy for Oklahoma-based nonprofits and candidates for public office. She has extensive experience in community-partner development for the benefit of kids in Oklahoma state custody. She earned her master’s degree from The George Washington University and her bachelor’s degree from Southern Nazarene University.
Sean Burrage, of Durant, president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Before being named to that post in July 2014, Burrage was a partner in the Taylor Burrage Law Firm. He also served in the Oklahoma Senate from November 2006 until June 2014. Burrage earned his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Oklahoma.
About the Board of Juvenile Affairs
The Board of Juvenile Affairs is the rulemaking body of the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA). The board reviews and approves the budget requests of the office; conducts periodic reviews and planning activities related to the goals, objectives, priorities and policies of the office; and provides a public forum for receiving comments and disseminating information to the public regarding goals, objectives, priorities and policies of the office. The board has the authority to adopt nonbinding resolutions requesting action by OJA in response to comments received or upon the board’s own initiative.
For additional information, contact:
Michael McNutt/OJA Communications Director (405) 530-2860 (405) 249-6072
Paula Christiansen/ OJA Public Information Officer (405) 530-2814
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