Don Wise

Don Wise

McAlester Public Schools Board of Education voted during Monday’s meeting to approve the hire of Don Wise as assistant superintendent.

Wise has 21 years experience as a school administrator and comes to McAlester from Manor, Texas, where he served his second stint as Manor Middle School’s principal since 2017.

“This is a good opportunity and this district is absolutely outstanding,” Wise said. “They have a really fantastic superintendent, really superb. If you just look at some of the stuff he’s doing, he’s amazing. And the principals on every campus are amazing. This is really a great place.”

MPS Board President Vic Wheeler said Wise was a finalist for a previous position with the school and made quite an impression.

“The opportunity to hire him as the assistant superintendent was really, once we sat back and looked at it was a no-brainer,” Wheeler said. “I’m really excited to see his experience and some of the ideas coming from an outside district.”

Manor ISD has an enrollment of 8,657 students, including about 700 students at the middle school.

Wise previously served in several roles — including associate principal, director of secondary curriculum and instruction, director of the career and technology education program, and campus program coordinator — in nearly a decade at Georgetown (Texas) ISD.

He was previously assistant principal at Cavazos Junior High Technology Magnet School in Lubbock, Texas, and principal at Uvalde (Texas) Junior High School.

Wise said he has focused on improving academic performance at every school, helping Cavazos Junior High go from academically acceptable to three consecutive years of being a recognized campus and a top magnet school in the country.

“The formula was simple: put the struggling students with the best teachers that we had,” said Wise, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degree from Texas Tech University.

McAlester’s school board also approved some moves among its principals.

The board voted to transfer principal Jamie Price to the same position at Parker Intermediate School, principal Kathy Hunt to the same position at William Gay Early Childhood Center, principal Karen Johnson to the same position at Emerson Elementary, and promoted pre-K teacher William Higgins to principal at Jefferson Early Childhood Center.

Meeting notes

McAlester High School Principal Mendy Tubbs recognized valedictorian Carly Mills, salutatorian Brooklyn Slater, Oklahoma academic and athletic all-state honorees from the school, students of the month recognized through the partnership between Patriot Auto Group and the News-Capital, the high school staff, and more.

Math teacher Tim Collier and MHS senior Garrison Watkins discussed the student council winning a second consecutive National Gold Council of Excellence award.

Lillian Jones discussed her Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma Gold Award Project — “Buffaloes Going Green,” for which she has placed recycling bins on campuses and teaches students how to use them.

MPS Superintendent Randy Hughes said the board will receive bids by May 23 for a construction project at Puterbaugh Middle School. He said board members need to consider a direction for the bond and the would need to have a resolution approved by the June meeting.

Contact Adrian O’Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com

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