Turney plans to work toward 'culture of success'

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

After winning a five-year term on the Pawhuska Board of Education in the Feb. 9 election, Justin Turney said he looks forward to helping to create a “culture of success” in the community’s public schools.

Turney and his wife, Ashley, have two children and are foster parents of two more. Turney, who is pastor of First Baptist Church of Pawhuska, cited his “calling and passion for students” as the motivation for his campaign.

Turney received 280 votes in the Feb. 9 primary. The other candidates were Shannon Shaw Duty, editor of Osage News, and Lyndell R. Malone, who has more than 25 years of experience as a special needs teacher. Duty received 137 votes and Malone received 59.

Turney said he intends to reach out to Duty and Malone, and he complimented their desire to serve the community.

“I do want to say thank you to Mrs. Duty and Mrs. Malone for having the heart and the care and the drive (to seek election),” Turney said. He added that he was thankful to Malone and Duty for their roles in helping to have an election that was about issues, and not a nasty personal clash.

Turney also said he realizes that he will be just one of five members of the Pawhuska Board of Education, and he will need to work with the other members to achieve for students and families.

“I really want to emphasize that I am very honored and humbled to have the support of the people, and I don’t take that lightly,” Turney said.

He said he intends to keep a campaign pledge to support and engage in common-sense, reasonable and data-driven decision-making.

During his campaign, Turney said he favors “transparent leadership” that offers honesty about both successes and failures, seeing shortcomings as moments in which to learn.

Turney characterized his campaign methods as an “eclectic” mix of approaches, including the use of videos and social media communication. He will join Tom Boone, Scott Laird, Addie Roanhorse and Jean Ann Simmons on the Board of Education.

Turney will take the seat to be vacated by Mike Tolson, who did not seek re-election. Tolson, also a believer in transparent government, has been known for advocating flexible solutions to policy challenges, helping his fellow board members reach consensus.