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New Oklahoma School for the Deaf superintendent starts January 17

Friday, January 13, 2023

SULPHUR, Okla.  – Dr. Heather Laine will begin her term as superintendent at Oklahoma School for the Deaf on January 17.

Laine, who is deaf, brings 23 years of experience, including 14 years in leading roles from assistant principal to director over schools for the deaf in Arizona and Louisiana.  

“When I interviewed Dr. Laine, I knew is she was our newest Bison,” Melinda Fruendt, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services director said in an enthusiastic email announcing her selection to staff.

The school’s mascot is the Bison.

OSD is a division of DRS.

“Dr. Laine is a dedicated, caring and motivated teacher, administrator and school leader ready to do what is required to see our Deaf and Hard of Hearing students succeed,” Fruendt said. “After a long search for the right person, I believe she will do a great job.”

“I am excited to meet OSD students, parents and families, instructional and residential staff, OSD employees, community members, OSD alumni, OSD Foundation members,” Dr. Laine said. “We are all stakeholders invested in providing high quality education for our outstanding students.”

“I will keep students as the focus of all my decisions and strive to create the best learning environment possible for students and staff,” she added.

Dr. Laine served as director of the Louisiana School for the Deaf in Baton Rouge from 2020 to 2022. In this role, she oversaw the instructional and residential teams for preschool through 12th grade. 

She was the former principal of Sequoia Deaf School in Mesa, Arizona, where she led the instructional team to provide positive learning opportunities from 2011 to 2020. She was a teacher and then assistant principal at that school from 2006 to 2011.

Dr. Laine was a paraeducator and then a teacher in a self-contained special education classroom for students who are deaf and hard of hearing with Los Angeles County Office of Education from 1999 to 2006.

Dr. Laine earned her bachelor’s of science degree in child development from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and a master’s of art degree in deaf education from California State University in Northridge. She earned a doctoral degree in education with a focus on kindergarten through 12th grade teaching and learning from Argosy University in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Dr. Laine has a passion for serving deaf and hard of hearing children and young adults, and has invested countless hours in shaping the futures of others, through her role as a school leader, teacher, mentor and friend,” Dr. Jace Wolfe, Commission for Rehabilitation Services chair, said. “We are delighted to have her on board.”

The commission is the governing board for Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. 

Laine and her husband Jon of almost 15 years are excited about starting a new chapter in their lives as part of the OSD community.

To find out more about Oklahoma School for the Deaf, Oklahoma School for the Deaf is a division of Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. For more information, visit https://www.osd.k12.ok.us/ or phone 580-622-4900.

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Dr. Heather Laine is the new superintendent at Oklahoma School for the Deaf.

For more information

Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director

Cell: 405-203-1318 

Last Modified on Jan 13, 2023