By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer
Retired educator Curtis Brackeen died Monday — a terrible loss felt throughout the education world, friends and educators said.
“He was simply my best friend and I loved him,” said Sen. Earl Garrison. “He was just a great, great educator — a giant educator. He will be sorely missed.”
Garrison, like all who spoke of Brackeen on Monday, said Brackeen had a tremendous impact on his life.
“He always said, ‘You know, Doc, I’m glad we live under grace and not justice,’” Garrison said. “He’d say, ‘I’m glad we don’t get what we deserve because Jesus saves us by grace.’ And I’d say, ‘Yes. Sir.’”
Brackeen was an educator for 33 years. A Muskogee native, he graduated from Manual Training High School in 1952. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Langston University in 1956, and a master’s degree in 1965 from Northeastern State University.
Brackeen worked 14 years in the Muskogee Public School system. He taught at the elementary and junior high school level. He also became involved with school sports programs as an athletic director, teacher and coach.
Brackeen began work at Indian Capital Technology Center in 1977. He served as principal, acting interim superintendent, administrative assistant and curriculum development coordinator.
He retired from ICTC in 1993. He was a member of the ICTC Board from 1995 to 2010.
ICTC Superintendent Tom Stiles said Brackeen was a “champion of a man.”
“He was one of the most humble, dedicated, people-oriented individuals I’ve ever been around,” Stiles said. “And because of his role, Indian Capital today is a better place.”
Jerry Belton, former director of ICTC, now retired, said Brackeen had a tremendous impact on his life as well.
“It’s a big loss. Not only for his family, but for the community too, because he was the type of guy that always put kids first,” Belton said.
Belton did part of his college internship under Brackeen, then worked at ICTC while Brackeen was on the school board.
“I just highly respected him and everything he did,” Belton said. “I just wanted to be around him — certain people give you wisdom and he did.”
Services for Brackeen are pending with Ragsdale Funeral Center of Muskogee.
Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.