State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister has selected Oklahoma Army National Guard Lt. Col. (Ret) Lance Nelson to serve as chief of staff for the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Nelson, whose Army National Guard retirement takes effect April 1, brings more than 30 years of leadership experience to his new post.

 

Serving in Iraq with the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Nelson managed and executed a $93 million budget for the Iraq Government. He also developed a cost analysis that, in turn, saved the U.S. government $72 million per year. In his most recent role as Antiterrorism and Force Protection Officer, Nelson analyzed potential threats and ensured the protection of 34 facilities and more than 7,000 soldiers and their families across the state.

 

Hofmeister said Nelson’s leadership and organizational skills are critical in strengthening OSDE’s effectiveness as a service-oriented agency.

 

“Lt. Col. Nelson is exactly what the Oklahoma State Department of Education needs,” she said. “He has recruited, organized and trained thousands of military personnel. He has managed and executed multimillion dollar budgets. Lance’s stalwart leadership and professionalism will be instrumental in elevating OSDE to a higher standard of excellence.”

 

Nelson, who began OSDE on Monday, said he is eager to take on the challenges of this new chapter.

 

“I am very excited to have an opportunity to continue my service to the great State of Oklahoma. I cannot think of a more important task than serving on Superintendent Hofmeister’s team and being able to share her passion and determination toward education and the future leaders of Oklahoma.”

 

Nelson has a master’s of business administration from American Military University. He and his wife, Jacquelyn, live in Stillwater. They have three children, ages 20, 18 and 13. The youngest two currently attend Stillwater Public Schools.