, Muskogee, OK

January 2, 2014

Oktaha man named to state post

Former principal of school for deaf to join Department of Rehabilitation Services' oversight board

— Oktaha resident Jack Tucker has been appointed to the Commission for Rehabilitation Services, the governing board for the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, a media release states.

Tucker is a retired principal with 40 years experience at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf in Sulphur. Tucker was appointed by state Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman.

“I am excited to get back to work with a lot of my friends and colleagues because working together is the key,” Tucker said. Tucker, who is blind in one eye, was a client of DRS’s vocational rehabilitation program, which assisted with college tuition and books.

“You could say I’m a DRS success story,” Tucker said.

He began his OSD career at age 22 as a science and driver education instructor and advanced to positions of progressive responsibility, including secondary supervisor, assistant principal and assistant director of education. Tucker served as principal from 1985 until his retirement in 2009.

Tucker designed and developed award-winning programs at Sulphur, including the Occupational Training Opportunities for the Deaf, an on-the-job training program that emphasizes work ethics and skills development. He expanded curriculum to include computer education, deaf heritage and advanced science and mathematics studies. He established and developed an in-school suspension program. He also developed an Alternative Learning Center in conjunction with the Sulphur School District for students who struggle in traditional classroom settings. He implemented a junior/senior banquet and prom, senior pictures and a yearbook.

He owned and operated J/J Enterprises, a small business that built academic lockout systems. They are used by students throughout the U.S. to buzz in and answer questions while locking out other teams during academic bowl competitions.

Tucker taught courses as an adjunct professor at East Central State University in Ada.

Tucker earned an associate degree from Connors State College, a bachelor’s degree in natural science and education from Southeastern State University, a master’s degree in public school administration from East Central University and a master’s degree in special education from the University of Oklahoma.

After retirement, Tucker and his wife, Julie, moved to Oktaha to grow and cultivate wild grapes and plums and make jellies at their 66-acre Possum Grape Farm.

Tucker remains active in the deaf community and has been a regular visitor to OSD, even before his commission appointment. He remains in contact with more than 275 former students through his Facebook page.

“They call me ‘Papa,’ ‘Daddy’ or ‘Grandpa’ depending on how old I was when they met me,” Tucker said.

The Tuckers have two adult children. Jennifer works in the English department at the University of Oklahoma. Jack Jr. is an auto body repairman in Muskogee.