, Muskogee, OK

February 11, 2014

Bivin earns seat on school board

Former MHS principal unseats incumbent

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Former Muskogee High School Principal Gary Bivin won a seat on the Muskogee Board of Education, defeating two challengers by a wide margin.

Bivin tallied 506 votes, or 58.3 percent, in unofficial results Tuesday night for Muskogee School Board, Office 4. Incumbent Muriel Saunders, a 20-year veteran on the board, had 332 votes, or 38.2 percent, of the total. Union Pacific Railroad engineer Dorian A. Dyer had 30 votes, or 3.5 percent.

Bivin, 66, said he was pleased with the results and is ready to work toward “progressive change” in Muskogee Public Schools.

“The Common Core Curriculum is something that has to be looked at,” Bivin said, referring to a new statewide curriculum, considered more rigorous than the previous standards.

“A lot of people are for it, and a lot are against it,” Bivin said.

Bivin said the district needed someone on the board experienced in public education. Bivin spent seven years as MHS principal. Before that, he was an MHS assistant principal and athletic director, principal at Muskogee’s alternative school and a coach.

“I had a great team to help me win,” Bivin said. “As a coach, I’ve always been a team player.”

Saunders, 79, said she is thankful for the support she received in the election “and for the past 20 years.”

“I’ll still support the school,” Saunders said. “I’ll just find something else to do. I’m sure there are other things to do that are of benefit to the community.”

Saunders teaches at Connors State College, Northeastern State University and the University of Phoenix.

She said she was prepared for Tuesday’s results.

“You never know until it happens,” Saunders said. “It is what it is. I gave it my best shot. I will move on and do other things.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or

Election results

Muskogee Board of Education, Office 4

• Gary Paul Bivin, 506, or 58.3 percent.

• Muriel B. Saunders, 332, or 38.3 percent.

• Dorian A. Dyer, 30, or 3.5 percent.