The board of a new downtown charter elementary school is accepting applications for the head of the school.
John W. Rex Elementary School isn't expected to open until the start of the 2013-14 school year, but private funds will allow a headmaster to come on board for the 2012-13 academic year, said Bob Ross, one of the members of the charter school's board.
Giving the headmaster an extra year will allow him or her to participate in building design, staff hiring and academic planning, Ross said.
“We don't want to have decided every single thing before our leader gets here,” Ross said.
The deadline to apply is May 15. Details about the position and how to apply are available at www.inasmuchfoundation.org.
Ross said he and other board members are looking for someone who is willing to embrace diversity, change, new ideas and different educational models. For example, because of its location, the school might not need all the trappings of a traditional school, like an auditorium or a library.
“You can shape and mold the school from the ground up,” Ross said. “You have the best of all worlds.”
The school will be built to accommodate about 500 students, though only about 120 live within the area, Ross said.
The school will be open to students within its boundaries first. Then it will be open to students in the district, then students who live outside the district, but have a parent or parents working downtown and then students from anywhere in the state. If more than 500 students want to attend, the school must have a lottery.
The hope, Ross said, is to have a mix of ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds.
“The diversity issue is really important,” Ross said. “We have to be thoughtful when we hire the leader and the teachers.”
Negotiations between the school district and the nonprofit group Oklahoma City Quality Schools lasted for about a year. The result was a vote by the Oklahoma City School Board in October for the district and the nonprofit to partner together for the project.
The school's board has six school district members, six nonprofit members and three at-large members.
“Our goal is to be one of the best elementary schools in the state,” Ross said.
How the school got its name
The downtown charter elementary school will be named in honor of John W. Rex, a longtime civic leader who was known for his advocacy for children. Rex, shown at right, was president of American Fidelity Assurance Co.
He was a key player in such initiatives as Success by Six and Smart Start of Central Oklahoma. He was involved with the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation and the Governor's Task Force for Child Development, among many others. Rex died in 2006 at the age of 72.
The diversity issue is really important. We have to be thoughtful when we hire the leader and the teachers.”