SULPHUR – Chris Dvorak from Ardmore will serve as the new superintendent at Oklahoma School for the Deaf. OSD is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
“Chris became the high school principal at Oklahoma School for the Deaf in August 2016 and has brought a progressive influence to the learning environment,” DRS Executive Director Melinda Fruendt wrote in an email announcement to staff.
Dvorak is currently a member of the Oklahoma Deaf and Hard of Hearing Transition Coalition.
“I am excited and honored about this opportunity,” Dvorak said. “My goal is to respect OSD’s history and tradition, while moving forward to challenge our students and prepare them to be very successful citizens in the future.”
He attended both Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma before receiving his bachelor of arts in marketing from Southeastern.
The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, led Dvorak to join the Army where he served in the 4th Army Infantry Division. He was stationed in Iraq for one year.
Dvorak’s military service opened the door to a new career in education through a program known as “Troops to Teachers,” a program which trains veterans to transition from a military career to one in the classroom. He then taught high school and junior high mathematics in both alternative and traditional classroom environments.
After earning a master’s degree in education from East Central University in 2014, he served as an assistant principal at Ardmore City Schools.
Dvorak is committed to getting students to “buy in” to their education by helping shape each student’s educational experience to the youth’s personal goals. He said he believes the student investment will help them be more engaged, helping to build their confidence. He wants to shift the paradigm from school being an authoritative institution to one that considers child development and their psychology.
“My personal goal is to allow school to be more of a partnership with the kids,” he said. “I think they need a forum to voice their concerns, to challenge and present ideas in a constructive way. I want to honor their autonomy and to realize they are capable of confidence building. I want them to become capable of overseeing their own intellectual development.
“I am looking forward to continuing OSD’s partnership with the Deaf community, OSD alumni and our wonderful staff and students,” Dvorak said. “I feel very positive about the future of OSD.”
Dvorak is married to Christi. They have three children, Joe, Cora and Daniel.
As the state resource center on deafness, Oklahoma School for the Deaf offers a leading-edge educational environment with highly qualified staff in their academic specialties, as well as deaf education. OSD serves students ages 2 through 12th grade at the main campus in Sulphur and two early childhood centers for ages 2 years through third grade in Chickasha and birth through 5 years in Edmond. In addition, OSD staff provides free outreach services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students who attend local schools, their families and educators.