, Muskogee, OK

February 4, 2013

Okay temp superintendent intends to improve district

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— OKAY — Okay school officials are in the early stages of finding a successor to Superintendent Mickey Igert, who retired in December.

The school board’s vice president, Orbery Burk, said the board would discuss the process of finding a new superintendent at its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday. He said he would like to have a new superintendent named in a couple of months and ready to start July 1.

Former Wagoner Superintendent David Harlow took over as Okay’s interim leader in January.

 He said he would seek to continue the district’s efforts to improve.

“I plan to leave the place in a better condition than when I found it,” he said. “We have a dedicated staff here and people are working hard to make improvements.”

Harlow said he had not decided whether he wants to seek the position.

In the meantime, he plans to work with district and state officials on improving the district’s academics and rating with the state.

In December, the Oklahoma Department of Education listed Okay High School as a Priority school for the second year in a row. Priority schools are ranked in Oklahoma’s bottom 5 percent of achievement in math and reading or have a graduation rate of less than 60 percent for the last three years. The state used scores and figures from the 2012 school year and earlier for its findings.

“I’m willing to do everything I can to assist them in their efforts to make improvements as far as the academic programs, facilities, technology and equipment in addition to the day-to-day operations,” Harlow said.

The department paired Okay High School with Adair High School last week through the state’s Raise the Grade Initiative. Successful Reward Schools, such as Adair, team with Priority schools in an effort to improve student performance. Adair High School received a $47,000 grant in the program.

Harlow said he had not met in detail with Adair officials. The partnership is a 17-month process, he said.

“The funds will be used to buy technology the students will be able to use,” he said. “Quite a bit can be accomplished.”

Harlow also is working with the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office to get site plans for each school. He said it would help sheriff’s deputies know how to get around.

Harlow has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of South Florida. He taught school in Florida before he came to Wagoner Public Schools in 1981. He spent six and a half years as Wagoner’s superintendent before he retired in 2003 to become an adult protective services investigator for the Department of Human Services.

He has a master’s degree in education administration from Northeastern State University.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or

If you go

WHAT: Okay Board of Education meeting.

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Monday.

WHERE: Okay School offices, 8611 N. 49th St. East, Okay.