MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Rita J. Echelle brings 27 years of education experience to her new position as superintendent at the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee.
Echelle started work August 8 in time to meet staff and get ready for the new school year, which begins August 22.
She was appointed by Noel Tyler, interim director for the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, which governs OSD.
In addition to leading in other public schools as superintendent, Echelle has served as a classroom teacher, school counselor, school psychologist and elementary principal.
“I can tell that the teachers and staff at the School for the Blind have a deep level of commitment to our students,” Echelle said. “Everyone here genuinely wants to provide the very best education possible.”
“I am excited to meet the students and begin learning ways to maximize their education and enhance their transition to adulthood,” she added. “But I’m also looking forward to working with community members in Muskogee and encouraging businesses to partner with our school.
Echelle earned a master’s degree in school counseling with a school psychology certification from Northeastern Oklahoma State University in Tahlequah. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s in elementary education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant. She also earned an associate degree in business administration from Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton.
Echelle was valedictorian of her Kiowa High School graduating class.
She and her husband, Jimmy, have two adult children. Ryan attends Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Nina attends the University of Arkansas in Fort Smith.
“We are confident that Mrs. Echelle will be an excellent match for this position and a strong asset to OSB and DRS,” Tyler said.
The Oklahoma School for the Blind is a public school designated by the Oklahoma Legislature as a statewide resource for children who are blind or visually impaired. Expert staff provide on-campus education programs for residential students who go home for weekends and summers, commuter students who live at home and summer school students. OSB provides thousands of outreach and consultation services to students attending local schools across the state, their families, educators and organizations. OSB has maintained a 100% graduation rate for five years.