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OSB Superintendent receives top OASA honor

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

MUSKOGEE - Rita Echelle, superintendent of the Oklahoma School for the Blind, was recently named the 2021 District 10 Superintendent of the Year by the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators.

Echelle will be recognized at the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration Summer Leadership Conference being held June 8 through June 10.

The OASA award annually recognizes outstanding administrators who:

  • Demonstrate successful experience in top level educational administration;
  • Have a sound, dynamic and realistic philosophy of education;
  • Can inspire and motivate people and give support and recognition for the contributions of others;
  • Have a record that shows continued professional and personal growth through appropriate training and experiences including skills in human relations and the stamina to cope with the pressures of the job;
  • Have the ability to speak for education on all levels with special emphasis on the district level;
  • Have made contributions to educational administration.

“School leaders truly do what matters most for student success,” said Pam Deering, CCOSA/OASA executive director. “These school leaders have led through a pandemic and budget cuts this year along with many other challenges. They have worked tirelessly for students. Rita Echelle is among the best of Oklahoma administrators.

Deering said OASA is proud to honor such outstanding leaders.

"I am very honored and humbled to be named District 10 Superintendent of the Year,” Echelle said. “It is especially meaningful to me to be selected by the other superintendents in District 10.”

OASA has 20 Districts that consist of multiple counties. Eligible OASA members are nominated and selected by their peers in their OASA District.

“Rita is to be commended on her hard work, dedication and commitment to service as the Oklahoma School for the Blind Superintendent,” said Executive Director Melinda Fruendt of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. “Her inspiration to students and teachers is recognized in receiving this outstanding honor and award.”  

Echelle was appointed Oklahoma School for the Blind Superintendent in 2016.

Echelle earned a master's degree in school counseling, with a school psychology certification from Northeastern State University. She graduated summa cum laude from Southeastern Oklahoma State University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She earned an associate degree in business administration from Eastern Oklahoma State College.

Prior to joining OSB, Echelle was superintendent at Keota Public Schools. Also, she has also worked as a classroom teacher, school counselor, school psychologist and elementary principal. Echelle also served as President of Muskogee Area Education Consortium in 2020.  

She is formerly from Kiowa but now resides in Stigler.

The Oklahoma School for Blind is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. Located in Muskogee, OSB provides residential and day education, and outreach programs at no charge for Oklahoma children who are blind or visually impaired from infancy through 12th grade. OSB's goal is to help students reach their maximum potential.

Last year, DRS served 76,134 Oklahomans with disabilities with career preparation, employment, residential and outreach education, independent living programs and the determination of medical eligibility for disability benefits.

The agency helps job seekers with disabilities face barriers to employment, such as inaccessible worksites, lack of transportation or the need for specialized equipment or training. For more information, visit http://www.okdrs.gov or phone 800-845-8476.

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*OASA members advocate for adequate funding for Oklahoma public schools, supports accountability measures, rigorous and relevant academics, fair treatment of education employees, and seeks to reduce state intrusion in local board of education matters.

**The CCOSA is a nonprofit organization, working to improve communication and cooperation between educators, taxpayers and legislators to improve the effectiveness of school administrators and communicate the needs of the schools.

For more information

Brett Jones, Communications officer

Cell: 405-651-4594

Last Modified on May 11, 2021