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Our Cause

Who We Are 

OPSR works to ensure better, equitable outcomes for children and families.


In 2003 House Bill 1094 created our organization, the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness (OPSR). This legislation recognized more state-level action is required to successfully support families and children from birth to five-years-old. At this state level, OPSR engages and informs policy makers and the public on how to improve children’s health and development. Together, we lead public and private partnerships, so that children arrive at school with the knowledge, skills and physical and emotional health to achieve success. We also utilize data, research and best practices that engage parents, nonprofit leaders, community partners and business leaders to inform recommendations to the Governor and legislature. 

The Oklahoma School Readiness Pathway serves as our roadmap to identify, monitor and report how Oklahoma is or isn’t meeting school readiness benchmarks. This pathway brings the latest research to the forefront and identifies areas for improvement in programs, policies and funding. Ultimately, our goal is for Oklahoma’s early childhood system to be coordinated, aligned and adequately funded.


Our vision is that all Oklahoma children are safe, healthy, eager to learn and ready to succeed by the time they enter school.


Our mission is to lead Oklahoma in coordinating an early childhood system that strengthens families and ensures all children are ready for school. 


Join Us

With your help we can ensure all children are ready for school and set on a trajectory of life-long success. We need everyone in our community, like you, to invest in our mission and vision of the future. We hope to continue to build private and public partnerships because together improvement in our state is possible.

So how can you join us? Just tell us a little about yourself, and we can find the best fit for your support. 

Join Us

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If you’re interested in becoming an OPSR board member, you can apply on the governor’s website. Click here to be directed to that application page.

OPSR Board

The Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness board is comprised of 32 members that are responsible for carrying out state and federal legislatively-defined mandates.

For the 2019 fiscal year, the OPSR Board has prioritized the following areas of focus:

  • Engage policymakers and the community with the intent to gain support for school readiness.
  • Convene and support partnerships within the board, throughout communities and statewide.
  • Incubate innovative, research-based solutions to encourage early language, interaction and brain development.
  • Ensure continuous improvement and accountability of Oklahoma’s programs that touch families with young children.

Click the links below to learn more about the OPSR Board.



The Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness staff work diligently to ensure children are on a successful path. Currently, OPSR has six team members with various expertise and skills that allow our organization to maximize efforts and impact Oklahoma children.




Debra Andersen

Executive Director

Debra has been the executive director of the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness since June 2010. With over 30 years of professional experience, she has developed expertise in organizing collaborative efforts at both community and state levels to create positive change for young children and their families. Prior to joining OPSR, Debra was employed by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, providing state-level leadership for the Child Guidance program. She has a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology from Kansas State University and extensive experience in providing services to young children with communication delays, state-level program planning and administration, and community coalition building. 

In her current role, Debra’s priority is to improve public policy through data-informed decisions. For the past eight years, under Debra’s leadership, OPSR has convened early childhood professionals, data experts, and business and community leaders to create an early childhood integrated data system (ELI). This ELI links data across programs and provides a holistic perspective on children as opposed to a limited view that can only report program outcomes. With this new system, Oklahoma will be able to maximize its effective use of public dollars by understanding how programs collectively impact young children. In addition, Debra has helped secure several significant grants including Project HOPE and OKFutures, which are focused on improving equity and existing early childhood programs in Oklahoma’s mixed-delivery system.     

Debra lives in Oklahoma City with her husband, Greg, and is the proud mother of a grown son and daughter. She serves as a member of the Early Childhood Education Institute Advisory Board and the South Central Comprehensive Centers Regional Advisory Board. She loves to travel, cook big family meals and grow flowers in her garden.

Diane Bell

Program Director

As OPSR program director, Diane brings with her 18 years of experience of K-3 classroom instruction in Loudoun and Fairfax counties, Virginia. She has developed and delivered professional development programs for educators in the Commonwealth of Virginia and Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa. And as a parent education director, she worked with a nonprofit organization to deliver the Nurturing Parenting program to a diverse group of families. She is also well-versed in policy as she worked as both a congressional lobbyist and legislative assistant. Diane received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Minnesota and her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University.



Gabrielle Jacobi

Program Coordinator

Gabrielle holds her Bachelor of Science in Journalism and minor in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Kansas. She brings four years’ experience to OPSR with her work at the Center for Public Partnerships and Research where she developed an interest in early childhood systems. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, she chose to return home after her out-of-state studies because she is passionate about serving Oklahomans.



Christopher Lee

Administrative Specialist

As administrative specialist, Chris utilizes his seven years’ experience in higher education to support OPSR’s mission and vision. He has his Master of Business Administration from Argosy University. In addition, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Azusa Pacific University where he studied under the Heidelberg Philharmonic’s principle horn player in Germany. Born and raised in Southern California, Chris now serves as the public relations and player representative board member for the Sooner State Softball Association.


Ed Martin

Grants Manager

Ed comes to OPSR from the private sector where he served as director of operations and area manager for an Oklahoma City entrepreneur who owned and operated several national franchises and a local construction and oilfield support services company. Ed brings 15 years of grant management experience, along with over 25 years of project management and senior management supervision, to his work. As grants manager, Ed oversees OKFutures, a grant designed to improve equity in early childhood education across Oklahoma. He utilizes both Waterfall and Agile approaches in project management along with new techniques, such as Mind Mapping to ensure successful outcomes. In addition, Ed served as division head for Neighborhood Programs in Oklahoma City’s Neighborhood Services Department. Born six miles north of Boston, Ed moved to Oklahoma City in 1973 and attended Northwest Classen High School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Religion with an emphasis on Christian Education from Oklahoma City University.



Katherine Parker

Community Relations Specialist

As community relations specialist, Katie connects community members and leaders with OPSR’s partnerships, programs and vision for the future. Prior to joining OPSR, she served as Cox Communications' communication specialist where she worked with six markets in their Central Region. She is passionate about education and served as Dove Public Charter Schools' public relations coordinator as well as began her career as The Norman Transcript's education beat reporter. She has her Juris Doctor from the University of Notre Dame and her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma.