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Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has started contract negotiations to become the schools superintendent in her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Tulsa School Board voted to authorize contract negotiations Monday night.

Gist says she's proud of the efforts to improve Rhode Island's education system, and moving on was a difficult decision. But she says she couldn't pass up the opportunity to lead a school district in the city where she was raised and where her family still lives.

Gist says she'll work with Gov. Gina Raimondo (ray-MAHN'-doh) and education officials to develop a transition plan.

Raimondo says she's thankful for Gist's great work on behalf of Rhode Island's children.

Tulsa's current superintendent retires in June.

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