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Our Cause

Who We Are 

OPSR works to ensure better, equitable outcomes for children and families.


In 2003 House Bill 1094 created our organization, the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness (OPSR). This legislation recognized more state-level action is required to successfully support families and children from birth to five-years-old. At this state level, OPSR engages and informs policy makers and the public on how to improve children’s health and development. Together, we lead public and private partnerships, so that children arrive at school with the knowledge, skills and physical and emotional health to achieve success. We also utilize data, research and best practices that engage parents, nonprofit leaders, community partners and business leaders to inform recommendations to the Governor and legislature.

The Oklahoma School Readiness Pathway serves as our roadmap to identify, monitor and report how Oklahoma is or isn’t meeting school readiness benchmarks. This pathway brings the latest research to the forefront and identifies areas for improvement in programs, policies and funding. Ultimately, our goal is for Oklahoma’s early childhood system to be coordinated, aligned and adequately funded.


Our vision is that all Oklahoma children are safe, healthy, eager to learn and ready to succeed by the time they enter school.


Our mission is to lead Oklahoma in coordinating an early childhood system that strengthens families and ensures all children are ready for school. 


With your help we can ensure all children are ready for school and set on a trajectory of life-long success. We need everyone in our community, like you, to invest in our mission and vision of the future. We hope to continue to build private and public partnerships because together improvement in our state is possible.

So how can you join us? Just tell us a little about yourself, and we can find the best fit for your support. 

Join Us

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If you’re interested in becoming an OPSR board member, you can apply on the governor’s website. Click here to be directed to that application page.

The Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Board is comprised of a diverse group of members, including early childhood experts and state leaders, that are responsible for carrying out state and federal legislatively-defined mandates.

Each year the OPSR Board prioritizes several focus areas to improve the lives of young children and their families, such as the following:

  • Engage policymakers and the community with the intent to gain support for school readiness.
  • Convene and support partnerships within the board, throughout communities and statewide.
  • Incubate innovative, research-based solutions to encourage early language, interaction and brain development.
  • Ensure continuous improvement and accountability of Oklahoma’s programs that touch families with young children.

Click the links below to learn more about the OPSR Board.



The Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness staff work diligently to ensure children are on a successful path. Currently, OPSR has five team members with various expertise and skills that allow our organization to maximize efforts and impact Oklahoma children.




Debra Andersen

Executive Director

Debra has been the executive director of the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness since June 2010. With over 30 years of professional experience, she has developed expertise in organizing collaborative efforts at both community and state levels to create positive change for young children and their families. Prior to joining OPSR, Debra was employed by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, providing state-level leadership for the Child Guidance program. She has a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology from Kansas State University and extensive experience in providing services to young children with communication delays, state-level program planning and administration, and community coalition building. 

In her current role, Debra’s priority is to improve public policy through data-informed decisions. For the past eight years, under Debra’s leadership, OPSR has convened early childhood professionals, data experts, and business and community leaders to create an early childhood integrated data system (ECIDS). ECIDS links data across programs and provides a holistic perspective on children as opposed to a limited view that can only report program outcomes. With this new system, Oklahoma will be able to maximize its effective use of public dollars by understanding how programs collectively impact young children. In addition, Debra has helped secure several significant grants including Project HOPE and OKFutures, which are focused on improving equity and existing early childhood programs in Oklahoma’s mixed-delivery system.     

Debra lives in Oklahoma City, Okla., with her husband, Greg, and is the proud mother of a grown son and daughter. She serves as a member of the Early Childhood Education Institute Advisory Board and the South Central Comprehensive Centers Regional Advisory Board. She loves to travel, cook big family meals and grow flowers in her garden.

Torri Christian

Program Coordinator

Torri is an attorney from Oklahoma City, Okla., who brings experience as a public policy professional and community organizer to OPSR. Prior to joining OPSR, she worked in business litigation and counseled nonprofit start-ups. Torri also previously served as the state advocacy and public policy director for Oklahoma’s food bank network, where she advocated in support of vital childhood nutrition programs, oversaw federal contracts and grants implementation and worked to improve systems of care for under-resourced children across the state. Torri enjoys spending her free time with her family, board gaming, and serving as pro bono counsel for OU Law’s Center for International Business and Human Rights.



Gabrielle Jacobi

Program Coordinator

Gabrielle holds her Bachelor of Science in Journalism and minor in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Kansas. She brings four years’ experience to OPSR with her work at the Center for Public Partnerships and Research where she developed an interest in early childhood systems. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Okla., she chose to return home after her out-of-state studies because she is passionate about serving Oklahomans.



Christopher Lee

Office Manager

As office manager, Chris utilizes his eight years’ experience in higher education to support OPSR’s mission and vision. He has his Master of Business Administration from Argosy University. In addition, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Azusa Pacific University where he studied under the Heidelberg Philharmonic’s principle horn player in Germany. Born and raised in Southern California, Chris is a member of the Red Coyote Racing team and enjoys spending his free time running half marathons.


Courtney Maker

Administrative Coordinator

As administrative coordinator, Courtney works on OKFutures, a grant that is focused on aligning Oklahoma's existing services and programs for children and families. She has four years of experience working in business management and earned her bachelor's degree in business administration and management with a minor in marketing from the University of Central Oklahoma. Her other interests include cosmetology, and she has her cosmetology and esthetics license from Meridian Technology Center. Born and raised in Guthrie, Okla., Courtney is happy to be a part of the OPSR team and continue her passion for helping Oklahoma's youth to ensure they have a bright future.

Carlye McQuiston

Program Director

Carlye was born and raised in Texas and later attended the University of Oklahoma where she received her master’s degree in social work. She comes to OPSR after six years in the non-profit sector where she worked with at-risk youth in both a direct service and supervisory capacity. Her experience with children and families has made her passionate about giving back to her community and advocating for our most vulnerable citizens. In her role as program director, Carlye will utilize her skills to help manage program operations and grants.



Katherine Parker

Community Relations Specialist

As community relations specialist, Katie connects community members and leaders with OPSR’s partnerships, programs and vision for the future. Prior to joining OPSR, she served as Cox Communications' communication specialist where she worked with six markets in their Central Region. She is passionate about education and served as Dove Public Charter Schools' public relations coordinator as well as began her career as The Norman Transcript's education beat reporter. She has her Juris Doctor from the University of Notre Dame and her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma. From Sulphur, Okla., Katie now enjoys living in Oklahoma City with her two Maltese dogs.