Muskogee superintendent talks leaving BA, plan for Muskogee district

MUSKOGEE, Okla. -- The first day of school in Muskogee is August 16th, but the new Superintendent Dr. Jarod Mendenhall has been hard at work in his first week of his new position.

"It’ll kind of kick off what are we going to do throughout our district for the next three to five years," said Dr. Mendenhall.

He started a 100 day plan of observing district operations and meeting with community and business leaders. He believes the collective effort can benefit Muskogee students.

"It’s everybody’s responsibility to be a part of that solution and to own what we do right here in Muskogee," said Dr. Mendenhall.

One idea he brought from his most recent position in Texas is called "read, play talk". It's a program designed to improve literacy, which is something some Muskogee students struggle with.

"If you’re in a car dealership and you had an area for waiting to buy a car or whatever the case may be, why don’t we haver a corner to where we have books and things that kids can read," said Dr. Mendenhall.

Dr. Mendenhall is no stranger to Oklahoma. Before Muskogee he worked as superintendent in Union, then Broken Arrow public schools.

The community was shocked when he left in the middle of his seventh year as superintendent, with no explanation.

"When we stopped talking about kids, and we’re talking about adults, I was going to move on. It became harder to do certain things, and that I had done the work I needed to do in Broken Arrow, it was time for me to move on," said Dr. Mendenhall.

It's a move he says he doesn't regret.

"Since I’ve been here in Muskogee, I don’t think I've ever been happier," said Dr. Mendenhall.

He will present his findings at the end of the 100 day plan to the Board of Education, and they'll see what needs immediate action.

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