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mary's Story

"My family has committed our lives to love our neighbor through public service, preserving the economic security of families, and carrying out justice and mercy through the democratic institutions of public education, voter protection, and access to justice."

-Mary Boren

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I was born in Abilene, Texas, and grew up in Tipton, Oklahoma. My parents, Don and Bonnie Brown, were houseparents at the Tipton Children's Home. My father retired as a county administrator for the Department of Human Services.


My husband, Nathan, and I met through the Sooners for Christ ministry sponsored by the Alameda Church of Christ. During this time, I was a law student, and Nathan was a pre-med student. We were married in 1992, on a tiny budget, at the Wesleyan Center on Elm and Lindsey in Norman.

For more than 25 years I've worked hard with my husband to honor our family's long history of public service. We've raised three children together: Altus, Harrison, and Macy. 

I earned my bachelor's degree from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. While at Cameron, I was a recipient of the Presidential Leaders and University Scholars scholarship. While at Cameron, I competed on the university debate team and Black History Bowl Competition.  I became involved in the Young Democrats while also serving and volunteering at my church in Lawton.


I remained active with Young Democrats and American Indian Law Review during law school at the University of Oklahoma.  We moved to Oklahoma City after graduating from law school, where Nathan completed medical school and family medicine residency at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

In 2008, after practicing child advocacy law in the Norman and Oklahoma City Metro area, I enrolled to complete a graduate degree in education and became a school counselor. I'm currently completing my M.Ed from the University of Oklahoma Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education.

As a Carl Albert Executive Fellow, I worked for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, followed by the Oklahoma State Department of Education as the Director of Instructional Materials. I was responsible for adopting and distributing books to every school in Oklahoma.  Additionally, Governor Walters and Governor Henry invited me to review the legislation at the end of legislative sessions. I used this opportunity to make recommendations after reviewing the law and community comments.

Having a child in need of special education services propelled me with a desire to acquire more skills to serve Oklahoma families and children.  One of my first principals was Tony Smith; he is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Nobel Public Schools.  I spent my certification year at Little Axe High School. Following this, I spent 3 1/2 years working in a high-poverty school, Adams Elementary, in Norman, Oklahoma.


Witnessing the tireless, dedicated, and grossly under-appreciated work of my co-teachers convicted me. Our state was in great need of better leadership at the state level.  While working in Norman Public Schools, my fellow teachers elected me to represent them on the bargaining team to negotiate their contracts.  The stress and injustice of state testing forced me out of teaching. Still, I've continued my advocacy for teachers and public education.

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