By Doris Wedge
The Moore American
MOORE — Dr. Roger Brown has been an educator for 30 years, a career that has helped shape the education of thousands of students in Moore, Putnam City and in Norman. He is retiring as Norman Public Schools assistant superintendent for administrative services at the end of June.
A Norman native, Brown’s teaching and administrative career was in the Moore and Putnam City districts. He joined Norman Public Schools as director of secondary education nine years ago. Six years ago he moved to administrative services position where his attention has been devoted to all of those support services that makes the schools run efficiently and effectively. Building and campus maintenance, security, child nutrition and a host of other details which support the work of the teachers and students.
He would like for people to know how dedicated the central services staff members are, the men and women who perform maintenance and repair on the district’s facilities.
“The facilities are so important. They set the tone of expectation from the moment you arrive on the campus,” he said. This past winter the weather provided challenges for that staff, he pointed out. “Their work goes on days, nights and weekends,” making the school buildings ready for the first bell each morning.
A major part of each day for Brown these past years has been in the oversight of the projects made possible through the 2009 bond issue. Included were projects of repair, remodel and construction throughout the district, including the recently completed administrative office building.
He cites the new agriculture building on the Norman High campus as a project that has given him special pleasure.
“We have such a strong agriculture program, and they were operating in an old portable building that was just worn out. It had outlived its time,” Brown said.
Brown grew up in Norman, attending Wilson Elementary, Longfellow Middle School, Central Mid High and graduating from Norman High in 1979. Four years later he was doing his practice teaching in history classes at Moore’s Central Mid High. He recalled how he got his first job offer.
“I’m a runner, and I was out running. Gene Burr was the Central principal and he saw me,” Brown recalls. “He stopped and asked what my plans were. I told him I didn’t have a job. He drove me to my home and said ‘get cleaned up and come see me in my office.’”
The interview that day ended with an offer to teach history at Central, a position he held for four years.
He helped open Westmoore High in 1988 and the next school year was named an assistant principal at Moore’s Highland East Junior High.
He recalls applying for an administrative job in Putnam City schools, and was told “you need to learn more about middle schools.” He took that advice and enrolled in a course at the University of Oklahoma. When a job opened in Putnam City a year later, he was ready.
“I told him I had followed his advice and took a course in middle schools. I guess that impressed him,” Brown said.
What followed was five years as principal at a Putnam City middle school. In 2005, he was offered the position of director of secondary education.
“I had always wanted to return to Norman,” he said.
Juggling his responsibilities as a husband, father and an educator, Brown worked steadily on his own education, earning a masters degree in education administration and a doctorate in educational leadership.
Brown would like to be remembered as having a “servant” attitude.
“I want to do whatever I can to make the learning experience better,” Brown said.
In his 30 years as an educator, he has seen vast changes, particularly in the area of technology. But no change is more troubling than that of needing to provide enhanced security for students and employees. Thinking back to his own school years, Brown said that he never worried about school shootings.
“As a kid, I didn’t even have a key to my own house. Didn’t need one. We didn’t lock the door unless we went out of town,” Brown said
Although he won’t be around to see the progress made with the $126 million bond issue approved by voters in February, he has been involved in the planning. He is especially interested in the development of the university centers at the two high schools, a new educational concept to help the student transition out of high school to whatever is next for them.
Brown’s wife, Lonia, retired as principal at a Moore elementary school and the couple look forward to a move to the Dallas area where they will be near their three children and four grandchildren.