GROVE, Okla. - Tom Steen, Grove School Superintendent for the past 15 years has announced his intent to run for State Senate District #3 in 2012.

The former school administrator said his focus will be on education and job creation and that the two go hand-in-hand. Having worked in the Grove School District for 34 years, Steen has firsthand knowledge of public education. “The public education system is not as bad or broken as some folks could have you believe,” he said.

“Funding is certainly a concern facing schools today,” said Steen. “I believe that the lottery monies have not been allocated as most people voting for it envisioned. Lottery monies have been used to fund salary increases for personnel, while this is appreciated, I believe most supporters expected these monies would go to individual school districts. Hopefully, I can help in making this a reality.”

In addition to his focus on the state's education system, Steen said he has a great interest in the welfare of District #3 residents in general. “I'm a Cherokee Nation citizen,” said Steen. “I care deeply about the large Native American population in the district.”

Tourism is another issue that Steen said he is passionate about and that water quality is critical.

Steen and his wife, Keli, have a small farm on Honey Creek southwest of Grove. They have three children, Timothy who is a student at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Molly who is a University of Arkansas graduate and will be entering Pharmacy school this fall at the University of California in San Francisco, Calif., and McKalee who will be an 8th grader next year at Grove Middle School.

Steen earned his bachelor's degree at Oklahoma State University in 1971 and his master's degree in counseling at Northeastern State University at Tahlequah. He has had administration course work at both N.S.U. and Oklahoma State University. He taught school for a year at Empire School near Duncan, Okla., and in 1976 he returned to Grove to continue his 34-year career in education.