State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister has announced that 104 Oklahoma high school students have been named to her 2020 Student Advisory Council, the fifth consecutive year the group has been convened to assist Hofmeister and the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) in matters of policy.

Local students are Carter Johnson of Seminole, Marleigh Merrell of Shawnee and Ayzia Shirey of Tecumseh.

“As we continue to improve public education, it is imperative to gather feedback and insight directly from Oklahoma students,” Hofmeister said. “Each year I continue to be touched by the wisdom, hope and compassion of these amazing young people who represent their schools and communities.”

Dominant themes voiced by last year’s Student Advisory Council were the importance of personal financial literacy, increased awareness of student mental health needs, and how trauma affects chronic absenteeism and student success. Feedback from the Council has been instrumental in state-level initiatives to provide teachers more professional development in trauma-informed instruction, replace end-of-course high school testing with ACT or SAT, and pilot Individual Career Academic Planning (ICAP).

The students, recommended by their district superintendents, hail from across Oklahoma and represent rural, urban and suburban schools of all sizes. Twenty-four are returning members who have served on the council in previous years.

The first meeting of the Student Advisory Council is scheduled for 10 a.m., Jan. 29, in Room 535 of the State Capitol.